This is one of those posts looking for a meaning; a collection of observations and musings (with links) that are only loosely tied. By now you too have probably heard something about Susan Boyle, the woman who wowed the judges and the world on the television show, “Britain’s Got Talent”. In under a month, one link of Boyle’s performance on YouTube has garnered 33 million hits! And there are other links to the same performance with another 20 million plus hits. It is remarkable what kind of attention this technology can garner. Susan Boyle’s performance reminded me of Paul Potts, who also floored the judges and left the audience gape mouthed with his rendition of an opera song — if you haven’t seen that, you can find it here. (Warning, it’s on YouTube, so you can’t watch it at school).
Anyway, both Potts and Boyle are just the latest reminders “not to judge a book by its cover”. In our ever increasingly superficial world, we are so quick to dismiss one another based solely on looks. It is an unfortunate truism about the media driven culture that we inhabit and it is getting worse with digital technology and photoshop able to erase all those “flaws” that make us beautifully human. It is a strange quirk about our nature, that if someone can demonstrate some other talent, we begin to forget (or not count so heavily) what they look like. Music, especially, seems to be able to close this divide and bring tears to our eyes.
Surfing around the net as much as I do, I often stumble across musical (and other) performances that leave me floored. Most times these just get bookmarked in one of my favorites folders and they remain there until … well, until I find some way to use them. Here then, are my recommendations for two performances that I believe deserve a wider audience:
P.S. 22 Choir: (Viva La Vida) During hard financial times, schools look to cut programs they deem as unnecessary or of limited academic value. This usually means that the arts, music and physical education programs are the first to go. Public School 22 in New York demonstrates what you can accomplish with a gifted, creative teacher and a little Internet publicity. While you are listening to these sixth graders sing, take a look at their little faces and tell me that they are not experiencing something valuable, meaningful and educational.
Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra: (Bernstein Medley) Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I played Tony from West Side Story in the 8th grade (singing and kissing and everything!). So it should be no surprise that somewhere on this list you would find an entry that features some of Leonard Bernstein’s music from that play. This performance is amazing, and then you remember that these are NOT professional musicians, but a collection of poor kids from Venezuela who were given a serious arts program. Listen and enjoy!
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a great holiday!
Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.