The Music Studio Kids were invited to help celebrate at Saratoga Race Course twice this summer: on August 9th for the 140th year of racing at the Race Course and again on the 27th for Proud to be an American Day. On the 9th, our students performed period music in period costumes in the Winner’s Circle, the Race Course Backyard, and in the Bandstand. Then, changing costumes and musical gears, The Music Studio Kids performed music of a much more recent vintage. On the 27th, students donned red, white, and blue and sang America's favorites, again in the Winner's Circle (where we were broadcast live), the Bandstand, and in the Backyard. On both days, our students not only sang and played Orff ensembles, but performed piano solos, duets and trios, and on the flute. They were also thrilled to perform with the “house band” of the Race Course, Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers.
Many Snow Whites and even more Dwarfs, a few dozen Cinderellas and Prince Charmings, at least that many Ariels and Simbas, and a stageful of other Disney characters took over the Palace Theatre in the Music Fundamentals' and Creative Keyboard’s end-of-year show. Over 300 costumed students, aged four through eight, sang, danced, and performed on piano and other instruments to salute Disney music and movies. To help keep things truly Disney, Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers and Jeff the Juggler also entertained the audience at various points throughout the evening.
In December 2007, the Albany Symphony Orchestra and students of The Music Studio performed in the world premiere of their second Paul Gerike composition for orchestra and Orff instruments. Gerike’s compositions and new arrangements have been performed by many major American orchestras; in the past year alone, he has written for the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Vocalessence, Philip Brunelle, and Libby Larsen, among others. The day after the concert, our students met with the composer in small groups for question-answer sessions and to celebrate the successful premiere. Gerike, who composes more than just classical and non-secular music - his work for Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion can be found on the recordings Definitely Above Average and A Hymn to Potatoes - shared the process of composition in a way that was clear and fun for both four-year-olds and fourteen-year-olds.
To celebrate The Music Studio’s 30th Birthday, two student pianists performed the Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Sæns) with the Albany Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Conductor David Alan Miller. Several younger students also accompanied the orchestra in The Toy Symphony (Mozart/Haydn). Many young students took part in both Orff and vocal ensembles, while returning alumni performed solos, served as narrators, and spoke to students and parents about the continuing importance of music in their lives. The concert, free and open to the public, was The Music Studio’s way of thanking student families for all that they do!