Tuesday, February 26, 2008

SymphonyKids Spotlight: Ah! Cappella

Using nothing but the instruments they were born with, the four singers in “Ah! Cappella” have wowed schoolchildren across the state with a varied and amusing program since their debut in 1999. All four are teachers as well as musicians, and expert at presenting a program that delights as it instructs. They perform a wide selection of music, from an early madrigal and part of a mass to an African-American spiritual and a coal miner’s song. It’s a great moment when they pull out concealed baseball caps and sing a marvelous version of “Take Me out to the Ballgame!” The “Geographical Fugue” is also a highlight; and the audience learns some Swahili to sing along with an African “coming of age” song. “Back of the Bus” is a touching and uplifting song about race discrimination. A question-and-answer period allows students to explore not only the group’s multicultural musical choices, but the lives of professional Vermont musicians too. Ah! Cappella’s show builds to the message that music as a universal language can bring the world closer together by singing together.

Soprano Claire Hungerford, of Enosburg; alto Linda Radtke, of Montpelier; tenor Nathaniel Lew, of Burlington; and baritone Brett Murphy, of Berlin, are all members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus. They have been singing together as a quartet for several years, and have developed a wonderfully informal and captivating way with student audiences. (Grown-ups love them too!)

This spring, Ah! Cappella has been chosen as the Burlington City Arts Residency group, touring to Burlington’s elementary schools. BCA funds these performances, bringing our SymphonyKids programs to an average of 2,250 Burlington-area students.

Upcoming performances for Ah! Cappella:
March 13 at Franklin Central School (9 AM), Berkshire Elementary School (10:15 AM), and Enosburg Elementary School (1 PM)
March 27 at Green Mountain High School (9:30 AM & 10:30 AM; students from Chester-Andover, Cavendish, and Proctorsville) and Floodbrook Elementary (1:45 PM)
April 3 at Stowe Elementary (9 AM), Morristown Elementary (10:15 AM), and Wolcott Elementary (1:30 PM)
April 10 at St. Mary’s School (9 AM), Bingham Memorial School (10:30 AM), and Bridport Central School (1:15 PM)
In addition to the BCA Residency performances, which have yet to be confirmed.

See all of our great programs by watching our SymphonyKids DVD. This five-minute clip show features footage from our Musicians-in-the-Schools groups, the Musical Petting Zoo, and our Orchestral Youth Concert, CREATE.

To book a SymphonyKids program in your school, contact Eleanor Long at (802) 864-5741 x 14 or e-mail Eleanor at vso dot org.