Milwaukee Children's Choir Presents SHALL WE GATHER, 4/22
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by BWW News Desk
The public is invited to "Shall We Gather," a benefit performance filled with stories from immigrant ancestors, songs and sing alongs. The show will benefit education programs at Milwaukee Children's Choir. It is produced by Deborah Patel with the assistance of Tim Benson, Jane Lukic, John McGivern, and Helen Zealy, each of whom will tell stories from their family trees. Songs will be performed by Calliope Vocal Ensemble (Jane Lukic, artistic director) and friends from Milwaukee Symphony Chorus and Milwaukee Children's Choir.
The interest in genealogy and family stories has never been stronger. You need only look to the extraordinary growth of Ancestry.com and the popularity of the TV series "Who Do You Think You Are" (NBC) and "Faces of America" (PBS) to know that people are interested in the history of families - their own and others. Every American has stories of family immigrants. Debbie's family came to America beginning in the 1630s and ending in 1960s. John's and Tim's families are primarily Irish, including Revolutionary War soldiers and 19th century Wisconsin farmers. Helen Zealy's family came from Lebanon in 1892. Jane is an immigrant of English/Serbian descent. All have stories worth telling.
And since stories are told best with a soundtrack, and words often lend themselves to song, we will share songs reflecting the immigrant experience. Featured tunes range from the title hymn "Shall We Gather by the River," to "Simple Gifts", "Shenandoah," "Bound for the Promised Land," "Singing School," "Down to the River to Pray" and "Danny Boy." Each song ties to a story, and Calliope Vocal Ensemble, other singing friends and instrumental musicians, and the entire audience will join the fun. The concert will awaken the spirit of immigrant ancestors in all who attend.
100% of the proceeds will be given to Milwaukee Children's Choir, which brings the gift of song to hundreds of young singers each year. (www.milwaukeechildrenschoir.org). A reception follows, so attendees can share their own stories with one another.
"Since I retired from running the Milwaukee Children's Choir," said Patel, "I've been working on my family history. I started listening to old time music so I could have a soundtrack. I joined Calliope Vocal Ensemble and rejoined the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus. Then the idea of a gathering, to share immigrant family stories and music, just started bubbling up. We're doing this because it will be fun. We're making it a benefit because we want to support the children who are the backbone of our school choirs and will someday join the ranks of our church, community and professional choirs."
Shall We Gather
4 pm Sunday, April 22, 2012
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
914 E. Knapp Street, Milwaukee WI
Tickets are general admission. $30 per seat / $100 for four seats.