New Albany News

Center Stage Singers to perform March 9

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One of the New Albany Arts Council's newest singing groups will perform its second concert next weekend.

The Center Stage Singers, organized in fall 2013 by the arts council, will perform folk songs, pop hits and Broadway tunes at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at the Church of the Resurrection, 6300 E. Dublin-Granville Road in New Albany.

"It's really incredible what these kids are capable of," said the group's director, Josh McKinney.

McKinney said the Center Stage Singers group was formed for members of the arts council's annual junior musical production to perform together year-round.

The arts council established two sessions for the young vocalists: one in the fall that culminated with a performance during the arts council's annual Night Moves concert Oct. 27; and one in the winter that will wrap up with the March 9 winter concert.

McKinney said the winter group has 21 members ages 9 to 15 from New Albany and Gahanna.

He said he struggled to choose music and gave the students 12 songs to learn at the start of the session in December, thinking they would have to cut some selections before March 9.

But the singers learned them all by the first rehearsal, McKinney said.

"By the first rehearsal, they knew them all so we didn't have to cut anything," McKinney said. "They've learned 12 songs in eight rehearsals. It was eye-opening even for me."

The group will perform folk songs from around the world, including Appalachian songs and a Swahili song during the first half of the performance.

McKinney said the second half includes For Good from the musical Wicked, Cups from the movie Pitch Perfect, Happiness from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Thank You For Being A Friend from the television show The Golden Girls, Africa by Toto, Count on Me by Bruno Mars and Roar by Katy Perry.

A $10 donation will be accepted for admission at the door.

Another new arts council vocal group, the Broadway Beginners, also will perform next weekend for their families.

Broadway Beginners is for children ages 6 to 8.

"I created the program because we had kids younger and younger who got interested in our junior musicals and had to wait a couple years (to participate)," McKinney said.

McKinney said the arts council had accepted 8-year-olds as part of the junior musical but the extended rehearsals proved too much for them to handle effectively.

In Broadway Beginners, the students learn about singing and dancing at the same time, preparing pieces of a production that can be performed for their families.

"We needed to find a way to get them right of way so they don't lose interest in the theater," he said.

The 18 children in Broadway Beginners started rehearsing on Saturdays Feb. 1 at the Church of the Resurrection.

They will perform songs and dances from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for their families Saturday, March 8.

For more information on arts council programs, visit naarts.org.

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