“A Night at the Movies” combined the MasterSingers with the Phoenix Academy Chorus and the Wilson Lion Singers for an incredible concert last Sunday afternoon, April 14th, at All Saints Episcopal Church in Omaha. Dr. Laureen Pickle, Director of the MasterSingers and music teacher at both the Phoenix Academy and the Wilson Focus School said that the group had desired to include children in one of their concerts for several years. All of the MasterSingers had been involved in music as children and it made such a positive impact in their lives that the group wanted to share that experience with other children.
Dr. Pickle called the students “the love of her life.” She said these students, combined with the music from Disney movies, made this year the perfect time. Pickle added, “There are far greater reasons for including these young people. In our time of school budget cuts, high-tech lifestyles, instant gratification, and the pursuit of excess, it is always the arts that suffer. While many acknowledge that the arts are a valuable tool in shaping a well-rounded life, that the arts teach a child so much more than what we see or hear, unfortunately funding is always scarce. There is no way to ensure that our schools will be able to shoulder the responsibility of an outstanding arts program on their own. We, as caring adults, must step in to fill in the gaps, to foster an appreciation for the arts. If we don’t, there will be no audience, let alone artists. We must pass the torch to the next generation, or watch our radiant beacon burn out. That is why we included these amazing kids in our concert – to share our love for the light.”
The students entered the church with their MasterSinger buddies lining both sides of the sanctuary. During the first half of the concert, the MasterSingers performed a variety of movie songs from James Bond to West Side Story. This magnificent group performed four beautiful songs arranged by Dr. Pickle. “Soul Man”, performed by the men of MasterSingers complete with sunglasses and fedoras, of course, was a crowd favorite. The final number before intermission was “Dry Your Tears, Afrika” from Amistad. It was done beautifully by the combined adult and children’s chorus and also featured the very moving African dance by Sankofa from the African Culture Connection.
The second half of the show continued to move and entertain the audience. The MasterSingers sang an impressive arrangement of “Hallelujah” from Shrek that was followed by “Hakuna Matata” by the children alone. “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King was the kids’ favorite! The students also sang “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas and it was very touching.
They all did a marvelous job and looked sharp with their red shirts or logo t-shirts/sweatshirts from Phoenix Academy and their dress clothes or blue sweatshirt from the Wilson Focus School. Prior to the final number, Kay Clark, a MasterSingers member for 40 years and the current group secretary and accompanist, was awarded the “Kay Clark Commitment to Excellence Award”. This newly created award was named for her and will be given in the future to group members who are committed to excellence. The grand finale was again the combined adult/student group lining the outside aisles of the church singing most appropriately “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story. Thank you, Dr. Laureen Pickle, for giving the students this wonderful opportunity. It was an amazing concert that they will not soon forget.
See an article from the Go Section of the Omaha World-Herald entitled, “MasterSingers, Children, Join Voices for Concert.”