McSweeny’s School of the Performing Arts will usher in spring in songs

McSweeny’s School of Performing Arts is springing into music as it plans two whimsical recitals this month.

“A Million Dreams,” a voice recital, will be presented on Saturday at 7 p.m. This spring recital will feature vocal soloists, a vocal ensemble, and the Fort Dodge Area Children’s Chorus, all of which are voice students of MaryAnn McSweeny-Buhr. Providing piano accompaniments for the recital will be area pianist, Michelle Havlik-Jergens, of Webster City.

Various genres of music, including folk songs in English, Italian art songs, Latin songs, musical theatre, pop and Disney classics will be performed by students aging in range from five to 19.

The Fort Dodge Area Children’s Chorus is comprised of those students who are primarily in first through fifth grades. The Children’s Chorus will sing “School Yard Quodlibet,” “The Inch Worm,” and “Humpty Dumpty.” They will be joined by other young singers as they perform “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman.”

A vocal ensemble representing the Children’s Chorus will perform “Shining Moon,” a traditional Thai folk song. Students included in this ensemble are Brylee McClintock, Grace Nichols and Zuri Roe.

Recital soloists will be performing “Ma Bella Bimba,” “Early One Morning,” “Nel cor piu non mi sent,” “Castle on a Cloud” from “Les Miserables,” “Pie Jesu,” “Yesterday,” “The Water is Wide,” “Neverland” from “Finding Neverland,” “Mister Cellophane” from “Chicago,” “When I Think Upon the Maidens,” “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz,” “The “Prayer,” “Gary, Indiana” from “The Music Man,” “Look to the Rainbow” from “Finian’s Rainbow,” and “Part of Your World” from “The Little Mermaid.”

“The biannual recitals give students an opportunity to demonstrate their progress and quest for musical excellence,” said McSweeny-Buhr. “Some performers are veterans to the stage and some will be performing for the very first time.”

Flute students of David Klee will follow with a recital of their own on May 18 at 2 p.m.

A variety of flute literature ranging from Bizet, George Telemann, W.A. Mozart, and more contemporary compositions will be presented by students aging in range from third grade through high school. Each of these students will be performing individually, while Klee will perform a few selections at the end of the recital, including a duet with a fellow professional flutist.

The school has added a piano and instrumental instructor, Kathy Yoakam, who specializes in brass. Yoakam graduated from Iowa State University with a bachlor of music in music education. She has taught elementary band/vocal at Stratford, South Hamilton High School Band, and will be retiring from Humboldt Schools after teaching fifth- and sixth-grade bands for 22 years. When she is not teaching, she is busy with Jive for Five Brass Quintet, Fort Dodge Area Symphony as principal horn, and Karl L. King Municipal Band. She is also a member of the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame with the group Rockestra in Sioux City. Yoakam is interested in teaching beginners of all ages and working with children and adults with special needs.

As the school celebrates 25 years of performing arts instruction this year, McSweeny-Buhr is reminded of the importance of music and fine arts. She has seen music change the lives of her students.

“I have never met a prospective student or adult that was happy they quit choir, band, piano lessons, voice lessons or instrumental lessons,” she said. “Everyone I have met always regretted doing so.”

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