Saturday night the Boston Landmarks Orchestra opened their summer season at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, featuring special guests the Boston Children’s Chorus and Latin ensemble Alex Y Amigos, with honors for the BCC’s founder, civic leader Dr. Hubie Jones. Geoffrey Wieting provides excellent coverage of the music on The Boston Musical Intelligencer. This blogger (who attended through the generosity of his employer) couldn’t stop talking, and reflecting, about everything the kids brought to that music.
Whatever their nascent spiritual leanings, the young performers looked and sounded uplifted by Aaron Copland’s exhortation to shout during “Zion’s Walls.” Chorus and audience alike were flush with enjoyment at the animal onomatopoeia of “I Bought Me A Cat,” with Copland’s sophisticated harmonies just a means to underline a lot of meows, quacks and giggles. If these compositions were “modernist,” “old” or “esoteric” it was news to this ensemble. They dug into the percussive syllables and jabbering ensemble improvisations of Alberto Grau’s “Pata Pa’ca” with the same excitement.
Seeing a few dozen adolescents singing, swaying and smiling through choral works is a great answer to all the doom and gloom surrounding the fate of classical, jazz and anything else that doesn’t make it to the Billboard Top 100. “Art music” music kept these children riveted, without any drums, auto-tuners or scandalous backstories.
They might not pursue musical careers, they may never perform again, but they’ll always remember how they felt singing to the rafters. It’s not an end in itself but it’s certainly not the end of this music. Just ask the six year old boy dancing in the front row.