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Concert Preview: Early Music Discovery Series: Merry It Is!

February 1, 2011

Shulamit Kleinerman, director of Seattle Historical Arts for Kids, tells Early Edition about a project she’s been working on and will present this Sunday, February 6 at 1PM at Downstairs at Town Hall.  Tickets and more information about the concert can be found on the Early Music Guild website.

Hamlet, dress rehearsal

Mix together a baker’s dozen talented kids, a team of seamstresses, several stalwart early-instrument pros, and a bunch of tunes from the 13th-18th centuries, and shake vigorously. Our concoction is almost ready, and we hope you’ll come enjoy it with us on Sunday: Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and American Colonial song and dance brought to life by children.

With a kid-driven narrative script, gorgeous historical costumes, and the catchiest medieval, renaissance, and baroque songs and dances I know, our “concert-play”—as one of the kids termed it—has been a delight to work on. With kids as spirited and creative as these, I get to be half taskmistress and half co-conspirator. Just when I think I might be exhausting them, they break into some top-forty tune from the fourteenth century, singing together for the fun of it, without any adults. It does the heart good to hear them.

The show brings together young performers who have devoted many hours of their lives to music, dance, and theater, along with other eager participants who are trying this sort of thing for the first time. Some of these kids have been coming to Seattle Historical Arts classes for as long as five years, and others are new with this project. They range from six- and seven-year-olds with a few lines and a few simple dances to a thirteen-year-old Historical Arts veteran who plays a mean vielle and renaissance fiddle in the show. All the kids unite in thirteen songs of celebration, humor, and wonder.

Getting into costume

Many of these kids sang (and in that one case, played) on our CD, Merry it is!, which will be available at the show. I keep hearing from people whose child or grandchild received a copy as a gift and can’t stop singing and dancing along. If our concert makes you or your child feel the same way, you can also pick up a copy of the Merry it is! songbook—being released on Sunday for the first time, and perfect for elementary school teachers or anyone who wants to follow along at home.

Just in case I need to say so to anyone who’s reading this: Sunday’s concert is going to be ever so much cooler than the Superbowl.


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