Laura W.: Today, we attended a long-awaited performance by the Children's Honor Choir in Abranavel Hall under the direction of Angela Broeker. Several of us had been excited to observe their rehearsals, but the Little America Hotel was a bit further from most of the day's activities, and we didn't get the chance to see them before today. The set began with a Latvian processional piece, "Sanakam," in which some of the children entered while singing and playing jingle bells. Their energy and tone instantly made us lean forward and stay engaged. After a Purcell set, they sang an arrangement of "Our Gallant Ship" written by Susan Brumfield, whose workshop about the Kodaly technique we attended this morning. This piece, along with most of the others that they performed, involved movement that kept the children focused, excited, and musical. The next piece was an interesting version of "Laughing Kookaburra" which began with a three-part Kookaburra bird call. What made me tear up (the first time) though was the acting in "Menina Me Da Sua Mao." A boy offered a reluctant girl flowers, then chocolate when that didn't work, and then a snowboard. They skipped off together as the music continued and I couldn't stop smiling. In their last piece, "Peace Like a River," the children all had their arms around each others' shoulders and swayed. In their blue shirts, they looked like a river flowing. I had tears in my eyes as I stood to applaud their incredible passion, excitement, and musicanship. The man sitting next to us asked if we had children in the choir. We explained that we did not have any children in the choir- we were just very enthusiastic college students (who cry like they were our own students!).
Laura S.: I was so impressed with this choir! Such young voices, yet they produced a sound that was so light and soothing! I also really loved their conductor, Angela Broeker. She really connected with the kids and became engaged with them, allowing them to be relaxed and loose on stage when it came to performing. They incorporated lots of movements and some dancing that was entertaining to the stories they were telling through the text. It seems like it would help release any tension they had and just enjoy the moment and be free while singing. One of the pieces they did that I loved was called “Menina Me Da Sua Mão”, a Brazilian piece arranged by Brad and Lucy Green. In this piece, there was love chemistry between and boy and a girl, and I thought it was so funny when the boy would go around stage getting chocolates and roses to give to the girl, but she denied them. Then he got a snowboard and she decided she did like him after all. It was very cute and the story came alive. They also did another lovely piece called “Peace Like a River,” an Appalachian folk tune, arranged by Jay Broeker, and commissioned by ACDA for this premiere performance. I absolutely adored how they were all so connected with one another and put their arms around each other. It got me so teary-eyed it made my heart melt! It’s so nice to see such young kids so passionate about what they are singing about to create beautiful music. Their energy, charisma, and happiness truly shined and told a beautiful story. Their tone was so bright and resonant! This performance truly inspired me to hopefully one day be working with kids in a musical environment.
-Laura W. and Laura S.
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