Musical menagerie

Posted: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Floyd Dryden Middle School orchestra and choir students performed a Native chant while entering the gym, but their Tuesday night performance ranged from Johann Sebastian Bach, to a Slavic folk song, to a spiritual, said orchestra and sixth-grade choir teacher Missouri Smyth.

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Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

"Sixth grade, this is their first concert for strings. It's a new experience for them," said Smyth. "Seventh- and eighth-graders, they're a little more experienced. They've practiced and are playing well. We just want them to play their best, have fun and enjoy the music that they're playing."

Some of the songs also featured a "Halloween flavor," such as the seventh grade's "Phantom Dance" and "Night Rider."

The concert encompassed a range of cultures. In one piece, students led audience participation in a musical "rainstorm" of hand-rubbing, snapping and clapping. Another, written by Chief Dan George of Seattle, "speaks to the earth, the beauty of the trees, the air, the fragrance of the grass," said Smyth. The piece included students' bird sounds.

An African piece called "Amani Utupe" translates to "Grant us peace, give us courage."

Smyth said this is the first of four concerts at the school during the academic year.

The Floyd Dryden gym will also host a student band concert at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

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