By Jacob Stockinger
Two years ago, it was the boy choirs of the Madison Youth Choirs that were invited to sing at the prestigious international festival in Aberdeen, Scotland.
It is, after all, the oldest youth arts festival in the world, about 40 years old and features performers form around the world.
This week, on Thursday, 68 members of three girl choirs in the Madison Youth Choirs – the Capriccio (below top, in a photo by MYC director Michael Ross), Cantilena and Cantabile (below bottom) choirs — along with three conductors, are headed to the same festival.
NOTE: You can hear a FREE send-off sampler concert on this Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Covenant Presbyterian Church, 326 South Segoe Road.
It is a BIG DEAL.
The repertoire the girls will sing covers classical music (Franz Schubert); folk music from Canada, Serbia, Bulgaria and Peru; and more popular music. Plus, they will sing in several languages. They will also sing a song composed in the Terezin concentration camp, or death camp, in Hitler’s Nazi Germany during World War II.
They will also give the world premiere of a piece – based on two Scottish melodies including a traditional walking song and the beautiful “The Water Is Wide” — that they commissioned from composer Scott Gendel, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. (You can hear James Taylor sing a heart-breaking version of “The Water Is Wide” in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
What an honor, especially in the wake of the concert tour to Italy two weeks ago by the Youth Orchestra of the Wisconsin Youth Chamber Orchestras.
Madison sure seems to be doing a fine job providing music education to its young people while many other areas of the state and country are cutting back on arts education and where many politicians and businesspeople are mistakenly trying to turn public support to the so-called STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math — at the expense of the arts. But the arts and the sciences really feed each other, and success in one field often helps to assure success in the other.
Here is a link so you can learn more about the tour and how to support or join the Madison Youth Choirs, which serves young people in grades 5-12:
And here is a link to the festival itself:
And finally here is a link to the Facebook page for the Madison Youth Choirs, with face photos of participants: