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February 10, 2006

Children’s Choir nabs two Grammys

NSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin's work on an album with the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra and the Michigan State University Children’s Choir won four Grammy Awards last night.

MSU Today (MI):

During a local Grammy Awards party at the University Club last night, members of the Michigan State University Children’s Choir cheered and celebrated when they heard that they were joint winners of two Grammy Awards: Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance for a compilation CD entitled “Songs of Innocence and of Experience,” by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer William Bolcom.

The 40-member children’s choir was among more than 400 musicians who performed the song cycle at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor when it was recorded in April 2004. The young singers, fourth- through 10th- graders, share the award with their director, Mary Alice Stollak, composer Bolcum, performance conductor Leonard Slatkin, as well as other conductors from the University of Michigan. “I am so proud that our children were asked to be part of a work of this magnitude,” said Stollak, the choir’s founding director.

The Children’s Choir was invited to be a part of the enormous production along with nationally known soloists and choirs. Stollak worked with the youngsters rehearsing the music for two months before handing them over to conductor Slatkin for the 2004 performance, which was in collaboration with the U-M School of Music and University Musical Society. Slatkin is the music director of the National Symphony Orchestra.

“It was a great educational and musical experience for the children to work with Leonard Slatkin and perform the music of William Bolcom along with such an impressive collective of fine musicians,” Stollak said.

“Songs of Innocence and Experience” is based on the poetry of William Blake. The recording, which was nominated for four Grammy Awards in all, also was awarded the Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. When the Community Music School opened its doors for services in 1993 as an outreach program of the MSU School of Music, a children’s choir was one of its most important priorities, said John Martin, former director of the Community Music School.

Posted by acapnews at February 10, 2006 12:05 AM