Prince George’s County Public Schools are filled with young talent. An excellent example of that talent is Suitland High School’s Center for the Visual and Performing Arts’ musicians and choirs. As directed by Musical Director Kenneth Boucher, the school’s Mid-Winter Concert was a gorgeous display of lyrical and musical delights.
Accompanied by pianist and recording artist Joy Mentzel and harpist Jacqueline Pollauf, the concert featured many highlights, including “Now is the Month of Maying” (by Thomas Morley) and “Good Night, Dear Heart” (by contemporary choral music composer Dan Forrest), sang by the Women’s Choir.
The traditional standard “Storm Is Passing Over” and Ola Gjelo’s “Tundra” were played with wonderful precision by the string section including Rebeckah Blume, 1st Violin; Shawn Samuels, 2nd Violin; Sean Austin, 1st Cello; Tovee Palmer, 2nd Viola; Ellis Austin, 2nd Cello; Jamia Lindsey, 3rd Cello; Haidy Rodriquez, 1st Viola and Benjamin Hamilton, Bass.
Rachmaninoff’s “Moment Musical #4” was expertly played by pianist Ashley Powell. “Cosa Sento”, a scene from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, was humorously performed by Laurene Nyekan, Charles Butler and Nicholas Padilla. Dominique Hinton and Asia Williams duetted delightfully in Leo Delibes’ “Flower Duet”.
Pianist David Hughes made Mozart’s “Sonata in G Major” shine. Lauren Robins-Smith’s vocal handling of Margaret Bonds’ “You’ve got the Whole World in his Hands” was powerful. Samaria Currie sang Handel’s soprano aria “Lascia Ch’io Pianga” wonderfully.
From there, Boucher directed the Mixed Choir, accompanied by Mentzel’s piano, through songs such as Alessandro Scarlatti’s “Sing Aloud with Gladness”; Z.R. Stroope’s “All So Still”; Randall Thompson and poet Robert Frost’s “Frostianna”; and the Christian traditional “This Little Light O’ Mine.”
Bouchet powerfully recited Emma Lazarus’ sonnet “The New Colossus.” (which is printed on a plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty) during the Full Choir’s singing of “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Bonds and poet Langston Hughes. The poem behind the song was composed when Hughes was 17, and was dedicated to Black activist W. E. B. DuBois. The concert was a testament to the power of public education done well and a jewel of vocal and instrumental excellence for families.
Running Time: Two hours.
Students from Suitland High School’s Center for the Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) played their Mid-Winter Concert for one-night-only on February 21, 2017, at St. Andrews Episcopal Church – 4512 College Avenue, in College Park, MD. For future CVPA events, find them online.