On Friday, the Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra will be doing something a little different.
As part of their annual “Programs for Children,” they are incorporating 10 American folk songs for children and adults to sing along.
The conductor for Friday’s programs will be Dr. Michael Brown, head of MSU’s Department of Music and the conductor for the Starkville-MSU Symphony.
“Dr. Michael Brown’s arrangement of ‘Ten American Songs’ is the centerpiece of a program that demonstrates some of the ways in which folk music has been incorporated into composition for the symphony orchestra,” said Robert Phillips, president of the Starkville-MSU Symphony Association. “Many of the children in the audience will have learned the words and will sing along in the performance. We hope that the experience of participating with the orchestra will encourage the young people to want to keep classical music forever a part of their lives.”
Songs such as “This Land Is My Land,” “This Little Light of Mine,” “Yankee Doodle” and “O, Susanna” will be among the familiar tunes students will be able to enjoy during Friday’s performances.
“This is the first time we have ever attempted a sing-along performance,” said Dr. Joe Ray Underwood, one of the organizers for the annual Programs for Children with the Starkville-MSU Symphony. “We selected 10 songs that children should recognize that represents a cross-culture of American history.”
The Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra’s “Programs for Children” will be held Friday at Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall on the MSU campus. Three performances will be held at 8:45 a.m., 10:20 a.m. and 1 p.m.
College students will be dressed in costume to lead the singing at Friday’s events. There will also be a power point slide program with song lyrics to add to the merriment.
“It will be a three-ring circus, but we always have a lot of fun,” Underwood said.
Phillips said Dr. Underwood, with the help of Dr. Ellen Boles and the students in the Day One program, have worked hard to make Friday’s event memorable.
“(They) have devoted their considerable talent to what promises to be a truly fine experience for the school children of Starkville and Oktibbeha County,” Phillips said.
Underwood said the annual “Programs for Children” event is a way of introducing students to an orchestra setting and helping them gain an early appreciation for music as part of a total learning experience.
And the historical music adds an extra learning element to this year’s event.
“We want students to learn more about the people who created American history through the 10 songs,” Underwood said. “We hope to help develop a healthy appreciation for our history.”
Underwood said he hopes this event will be one of many events that will encourage a love of music, “and maybe a future where they are writing their own music.”
Phillips said the Friday evening concert also focuses on the use of folk themes in classical composition.
“Folksong Fantasia” will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall at MSU.
Roseangela Sebba joins the symphony for a performance of Mozart’s Concerto in A Major for piano and orchestra. Guitarist Gohn Oeth repeats his performance of “Espanoleta y Fanfare de la Caballeria de Napoles” from the Programs for Children. Soprano Elizabeth Jones and tenor Phashun King will replace the children for the evening concert in singing “Ten American Songs.”
“All of this should make for a very entertaining evening concert,” Phillips said.
For more information, go to the website at http://www.starkvillemsusymphony.org .