This past April, three talented GFS students performed with Singing City Choir in a the premiere performance of The Children’s March, composed by Andrew Bleckner. Madeline Addis ’14, Marielle Issa ’15, and Jeung Lee ’14 were three of five teenage soloists for the performance. The Children’s March, an unstaged opera, told the previously unknown story of thousands of children who marched for their freedom during the Civil Rights Movement. The GFS community was very involved in this performance. Music teacher Anne Hess and teacher Cheryl Bruttomesso’s partner Deb Clarke are both members of Singing City.
The choir sung the story of the children’s march on Birmingham, AL, with a narrator who provided more information when needed. The Singing City Children’s Choir played the roles of the children marching through the streets of Birmingham. The first few selections from the libretto (the text of the opera) gave background to other parts of the Civil Rights Movement such as selections from the piece entitled “Brown vs. Board of Education & Rosa Parks” and “Little Rock.”
In the third section of the piece, the choir moved to Birmingham, where the children’s march took place. The teenage soloists played political leaders, performing a call and response with the children.
It was a powerful piece with beautiful music. It was very complex and allowed many soloists an opportunity to shine. The five teenage soloists were fantastic, taking on roles from Martin Luther King Jr. to horrible segregationists.
Reflecting on the piece, Marielle said, “it felt so good to be creating something brand new together, like we could mold it any way we wanted to.”
All three of the GFS students that were soloists were magnificent. They were able to keep up with the strong Singing City choir, but still managed to stand out. Overall, The Children’s March was an incredible performance.