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Holy Trinity Lutheran Church provided a generous and gracious setting for KidZNotes to demonstrate the effectiveness of their program and to celebrate their arrival in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. The program featured the Three Triangle Tenors – George Deaton, Wade Henderson, and Timothy Sparks – and the KidZNotes All Star Trio, with Kiarra Truitt-Martin, violin, Jessi Marin, viola, and Marcus Gee, cello. Andrea Edith Moore was special guest soprano, and pianist Catherine Hamner was the accompanist. Also appearing on the program were KidZNotes artistic director Rashad Hayward and executive director Nick Malinowski. For those who do not know, Kidznotes is a music for social change program based on the El Sistema model of youth orchestras that started in Venezuela and has now spread worldwide. KidZNotes' mission is to provide free music instruction to kids who couldn't otherwise afford it.
The concert began with the KidZNotes All Star Trio, joined by artistic director and clarinetist Hayward. They performed a delightful "Barcarolle" from Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann, a stirring "Triumphal March" from Verdi's Aida, a lilting "Là ci darem la mano" from Mozart's Don Giovanni, and a playful "Largo al factotum" from Rossini's The Barber of Seville. They performed with knowledgeable interpretation of the style of each piece and with very nice blend and balance/
Next on the program were the three tenors. Deaton has been a popular oratorio singer in the Triangle and beyond. He formed the Three Triangle Tenors with Henderson and Sparks in 2009. For today's program, he sang a stirring presentation of the popular recitative and aria from Handel's Serse: "Ombra mai fu." Henderson has sung many rolls across North Carolina to popular and critical acclaim. On this day, he sang the dramatic "Repentir" ("O, Divine Redeemer") by Gounod. Sparks, also a frequent performer in opera across North Carolina and beyond, chose to perform the highly emotional and powerful "Ingemisco" from Verdi's Requiem.
Each of the three tenors next chose a selection from the Broadway stage. Henderson sang "A Bit of Earth" from The Secret Garden by Lucy Simon. Deaton sang "And This is My Beloved" from Kismet, Wright and Forrest's setting of music of Alexander Borodin. Sparks chose "Beautiful Girls" from Follies by Sondheim.
The KidZNotes All Star Trio with Hayward returned to the stage to perform "The Merry Widow Waltz" by Lehar and the "March" from The Love for Three Oranges by Prokofiev. Next, the string trio alone performed the first and fourth movements from Carole Rabinowitz's Celtic Classics for string trio.
Then the three All Stars performed the first movement of Beethoven's String Trio, Op. 9, No. 1, in G. It was obvious from the first notes that this was the real thing, not just some notes the young artists learned but an experience that meant something to them and that it was an experience they wanted to pass on to us, the alert audience. It was a remarkable, and the audience knew it and responded by standing and applauding vigorously. This is what it is all about – when in a performance the music comes alive and the musicians and the audience together are transformed, all leave the concert with more than they were when they came to it.
The concert continued with the silver bell-like voice of Moore and the rich soaring voice of Malinowski joined in the rapturous "Tonight" from West Side Story. This was followed by the three tenors' rendition of "Maria" and "Gee, Officer Krupke," both also from West Side Story.
"The Music of the Night" from Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. brought down the curtain on the Broadway portion of the concert.
The remarkable cellist Gee gave a stunning performance of Massenet's bewitching "Meditation" from Thaïs. Then the outstanding accompanist Hamner dazzled the audience with "Malagueña" by Ernesto Lecuona.
The show closed with two operatic barn burners – "La donna é mobile" from Rigoletto and "Libiamo ne'lieti calici" from La Traviata. For the last of these, Moore and Malinowski joined the three tenors. If there had been one more verse, I think the audience was also about ready to join in the rousing chorus, too.
For an encore (even though the concert had been a bit long), the audience readily and enthusiastically agreed when asked if they would like to hear "Nessun dorma." It was indeed a warm-fuzzy ending to a delightful afternoon of music and the future promise of KidZNotes.