4 videos attached from the recording of the live Skype stream between Jennifer Berroth’s Sixth Grade Chorus of Leawood Middle School in Kansas and the Parry and Elgar Choristers of the Zhuhai Classical Children’s Choir in Zhuhai, China directed by Lynn Swanson. Downloadable anthems/links* attached.
On March 30, 2018 the Leawood Middle School Sixth Grade Chorus under the direction of Jennifer Berroth exchanged a few memorable moments of singing with members of the Zhuhai Classical Children’s Choir.
This came about from the initiative of Ms. Berroth to expose her young singers to a new and exciting experience that would connect them to another culture in another part of the world. They will be presenting a spring concert using folk songs from around the globe. What better way to truly understand another culture than to interface with it. What came about then was a choral exchange with a classical children’s choir on the other side of the world.
Jennifer and I scheduled Friday, March 30 as the day we could most easily introduce our choristers to each other. We gathered at 8:30pm on a Friday night which was Kansas City’s Friday morning – 7:30am. We performed folk songs from each other’s homeland and then sang a second selection from each chorus’s repertoire.
We also had a question and answer time for each other which was very enlightening for these children sharing their love of music but living so far apart.
Some of the questions were:
Leawood to Zhuhai: Has anyone ever been to America? And if so, what did you think? About twelve hands shot up. We asked Cindy, age 15, to elaborate on her experience. She said that she had visited as a student and learned many wonderful things about the culture. She found everyone to be very friendly and helpful. She was especially struck by how beautiful our national parks are, something the Chinese do not have. She hopes to return soon to study again.
There was actually one Leawood chorus member who lived in Shanghai, China for three years. She attended an international school and studied Chinese. She continues her study of Mandarin in the US.
Zhuhai to Leawood: What classes do you take at school? Leawood students said they study Math and Science in the mornings, then English, History and Band, Chorus and/or Orchestra in the afternoons. At Leawood, students can take two music classes simultaneously if they like. They also said the school offers Spanish and French as foreign languages.
Leawood to Zhuhai: How many of the singers study a private instrument? Every hand (45 youth) in the chorus except for one went up. Piano is the most popular instrument studied followed by violin.
All the chorus members were very appreciative of the time invested to schedule this thirty-minute event. It made me smile to see the lit up eyes and expressions of wonderment on their faces. It underscored once again, that where ever you go, music can be an immediate connection to others. World leaders may cause conflict which can seemingly pit cultures against each other. But when the arts and music in particular is used, the heart softens and reveals an endearing smile that stems from the soul. This is a memory that will be cherished for years to come. You never know, our choristers just might meet again one day at a Beethoven Festival in the middle of Poland! It’s happened to me before!
Our live stream was projected onto a wall using our lap tops and Skype accounts ~
Leawood Middle School Sixth Grade Chorus performs for Zhuhai Classical Children’s Choir. The song was Ge Sheng Yu Wei Xiao*, a Chinese folk song transcribed and arranged for piano and chorus by Andrew Webb-Mitchell. Pronunciation:
Translation: Please bring my song back to your home and leave your smile.
Tomorrow this song will fly over the horizon.
Tomorrow this smile will be wild spring flowers.
Leawood watches Zhuhai choristers sing Henry Purcell’s Let Us Wander* for two part treble chorus.
Zhuhai Classical Children’s Choir watches Leawood Middle School Sixth Grade Chorus sing Ho, Ho the Rattlin’ Bog*, an Irish folk song.
Leawood watches Zhuhai choristers sing American folk song Ring-a-Ching-Chaw arranged by Aaron Copland.
Leawood Middle School is a part of the Blue Valley School District, Kansas. Jennifer Berroth, Choir Director. Ms. Berroth is also a contributing author of DevelopingVoices.blog
Zhuhai Classical Children’s Choir in Zhuhai, China is a choir of the Webb-Mitchell Centre for Choral Studies, China. Lynn Swanson, Assistant Director.
For links to songs used in our exchange please Read More at the bottom of this article ~
I highly recommend Henry PURCELL’S Six Duets for Soprano/Alto Chorus. Purcell.6Duets.SA.. You will find them a challenge as the voice leading a part varying rhythms can be tricky at times. They all have piano accompaniment and are free to download!
The Chinese folk song Ge Sheng Yu Wei Xiao Ge.Sheng.Yu.Wei.Xiao.歌声与笑声.Pinyin.Full is an accessible unison piece with piano accompaniment if you are looking to include something from other cultures on your next concert.
Chinese Pronunciation Guide: