Saturday, November 16, 2013

Music in Schools

I am on the board of the Corrales Cultural Arts Council, a volunteer organization founded in 1988.   The CCAC presents an annual series of eight general-audience concerts by world-class performers (ranging from classical to jazz to Celtic and folk) held in an 1868-vintage adobe mission church in Corrales.  

In addition, CCAC provides a "Music in Schools" program to schools in Corrales and neighboring areas at no cost.  The MIS program includes interactive music education as well as performances by some of the artists from the general-audience concert series, who come in the day before their concert to perform for the kids.

Yesterday, I attended (and photographed) the Music in Schools event with African-American singers Rodrick Dixon and Alfreda Burke (tenor and soprano).  They are internationally-known performers whose repertoire includes opera, Broadway, spirituals, and popular music.  They were also featured in a public TV program, "Hallelujah Broadway," distributed by American Public Television in 2010.  You can read more about them here.

The venue was the Corrales Elementary School, where 250 2nd through 5th graders assembled in the gymnasium.  The set-up was simple:  an electronic keyboard, CD player, microphones, and speakers.

But for almost an hour Rod and Alfreda transformed the harshly-lit, Spartanly-decorated gym into a concert hall with a mix of show tunes ("Somewhere" and "Tonight" from West Side Story, "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel), classical (short selections of German lieder, French chanson, and Russian opera), and popular songs . . .



  . . . capped by a rousing audience participation version of the spiritual "Witness."

For an encore, they sang "Sing a Song" from Sesame Street and, in response to a request from the audience, the Barney song ("I Love You").

The kids were well-behaved, interested, and enthusiastic, and everyone had a great time!

If you would like to see these images (and more), visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.


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