Beautiful world: Cale kids celebrate life

Voices of Cale
at PVCC's Dickinson Building
Friday, April 25

After I adjusted the rabbit ears this weekend, my snowy reception of Channel 29 cleared enough to afford some fuzzy views of Most Talented Kid, a modern spin on Ed McMahon's Star Search.

For the most part, the judges listened to an array of little pageant-primed ladies and gentlemen singing popular favorites in the music industry's inflection of the moment– guttural Spears. But to me their sparkle seemed dull and their cuteness contrived– especially compared to what I'd witnessed the evening before.

Last Friday, 72 beautiful voices filled the air at PVCC's V. Earl Dickinson Building. Under the direction of Rebecca Pelton, the Voices of Cale (Elementary) presented their 2003 Earth Day Concert. The kids tiered up the risers by grade, kindergarten to fifth, illustrating how few years separate the tiny angels twisting their fingers in the front from the older, cooler weeds in the back.

In a story that followed the friendship of some major players– the Earth, Moon, and Sun– we were reminded of the splendor that surrounds us, and our duty to preserve it. Following bits of kindly toned narration by folk musician John McCutcheon, the chorus sang creative original pieces written by Jim Asher, who also played keyboards in the spirited backing band (which included Billy Ballard on drums, John Buckley on second keyboard, Jack Glasheen on acoustic guitar).

The diverse covers included Harry Belafonte's "We Come From the Mountains" and Fame's "I Sing the Body Electric." Pelton's friend, children's musician Tom Gorman, even visited all the way from Bowling Green, Ohio, to contribute to the performance.

I have to give credit to a director who can keep children on their feet, excited and singing, for over an hour. Audience eyes misted in the camcorder glow over heart-tweaking numbers such as "Rain, Rain" and "I Hold You In My Arms." Fifth-grader Irving Jones, the Hermsmeier siblings, and the other soloists displayed wonderful vocal capabilities.

Several twists added to the evening's enjoyment; in "Vision of the Butterfly," the kids suddenly shed their dark duds (large black shirts) to reveal a rainbow of colored tees underneath.

I even had chance to try out my own vocal chords, during the "audience-participation" segment of the program... "I see skies of blue, clouds of white, bright blessed days, warm sacred nights, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world."

And it is every child's right to enjoy it.

The Cale Elementary Chorus