Saturday, August 11, 2007

Performance: 4th of July with the Boston Pops on the Esplanade!

Guest Writer: Casey Accardi

On the 4th of July, 2007, the Boston Children's Chorus had the joy of performing with the Boston Pops on the Esplanade on television in honor of the 4th of July Holiday. Early in the program we sang John Williams "Dry Your Tears Afrika" and Jill Galina's "American Pride." to both a live audience as well and millions of home viewers. Then, later on, when the television coverage became national, we joined the nation in a patriotic sing-a-long.

For me personally, this performance was the highlight of my season as a singer in BCC. When we found out that we would be singing for this event, I believe the feeling across the BCC family was one of mutual glee. It was such a huge opportunity for us as a choir, which was a great motivation to really perform the best that we possibly could.One of the pieces we sang ("Dry Your Tears Afrika") most of us were already familiar with because we had been singing it for a good part of the season, specifically for performances we did with the Boston Pops in May and June. The other piece we sang was one that we learned especially for the event, "American Pride." The second we ran through this piece, I knew it would be a great one for us to really perform and have fun with.

July 2nd through 4th were some fun, exciting, and busy times for us! On July 2th, the Concert Choir (myself included) returned home from our fantastic tour to Mexico. Then, on July 3rd, we met with select singers from many of the other BCC choirs to run our two pieces we'd be performing as a whole group at Symphony Hall. We were then loaded into Police escorted (that was exciting!) buses and transported to the Esplanade where we did some work on placement on stage and a sound check. While we were there, we got to see some of the other acts rehearse, like the Blue Man Group and the Pops Search Winner, Maria Perry... there was so much talent in one place!

Later on that evening, we returned to the Esplanade to film the dress rehearsal for the actual performance. The reason this is filmed is so if the weather is terrible on the 4th, the dress rehearsal can be televised. The dress rehearsal went really well, but I think we all hoped the weather would be good the next day so we could come back and do it live for the actual Holiday!

When it was finally the 4th of July, the future looked grim because most weather forecasts said there would be a storm later that evening (exactly when we'd be performing!) but like true performers would say, "the show must go on!" so we all arrived for our 6:30 call, ready to perform! We arrived at the Esplanade, did a few warm-ups, but mostly focused on conserving for our voices for the big event! When it finally became 8:30, we got into places and focused on the task at hand. I think everyone was a little nervous, but mostly pumped up to take the stage.

It was raining pretty hard outside, but we worked with it, as did the energetic live audience that was filled with great enthusiasm. As the final moment came, we quickly got into places on the steps of the Esplanade, put our "showfaces" on, and gave the performance our all! I would have to say that the performance was a great success, I could feel the energy onstage through every phrase, and we were all having a ton of fun! At the commence of our first set of music, there was thundering applause from the oval, and that's when I think we all realized how grateful we were to have this opportunity.

Once we got backstage, we all tried to relax and get ready for the next part of the program where we would help lead the patriotic sing-a-long. Everyone tried to calm down and get "in the zone" even though we were all so thrilled with the performing we'd just done.Our cue to get ready for the sing-a-long was John Mellencamp's fantastic performance of "Our Country." Everyone was once again quite pumped up as we scurried into place to the beat of the wonderful patriotic song.

Once we got on stage, all of our faces lit up as we performed a medley of classic American songs. To really understand the amazing experience of standing on a stage with a such a supportive chorus, backed up by one of the best orchestras in the country, with the knowledge that there were millions of people watching, is one that you really have to experience yourself. The feeling is one of pure thrill as you hit that last note with a nation singing along with you.
Performing for this amazing event is truly a milestone for the BCC and I am really glad to have been apart of it. It is certainly something I will never forget!


AmyLove said...

Nice writing, Casey! Congrats to the whole BCC. I wish I could have seen the performance but the Boston Pops show didn't air in LA. : )

Alexis said...


dirtpumpkin said...

I find that the children's chorus is wonderful to listen to. However, my husband and I were dismayed by the choice of songs used in the fourth of July celebration in 2007. The choice to sing a song for Africa is very UNPATRIOTIC! We were not celebrating Africa or African Americans! We were celebrating our country. Why not sing something patriotic concerning our great country? If you aren't going to choose music for our country, then don't perform on July 4th!

Anonymous said...

We additionally performed a song titled "American Pride" which had a very patriotic feel. African Americans too are a part of our nation and we, as the Boston Children's Chorus, strive to represent the diverse nation that is The United States of America. It is by celebrating all cultures that we truly represent the symphony of backgrounds gathered in the USA. The song "Dry Your Tears Afrika" is not FOR Africa, but instead speaks of freedom from slavery. Is it not us, The United States of America, who ensure that freedom is a guaranteed right for any individual, regardless of race?