By Ben Burgess
What do you get when you cross an arts news nonprofit with a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between two worlds-apart youth choirs?
The answer: A very special documentary.
Singing World: Drakensberg Boys Choir and NJ Youth Chorus at the Mayo Performing Arts Center is a reflection on a choral extravaganza that brought the South African Drakensberg Boys Choir and the NJ Youth Chorus together on stage in Morristown in March 2011.
And by the looks of the whirling dances, pounding drums, and diverse songs, these kids were having the time of their lives.
According to Susan Haig, an accomplished Princeton-trained conductor who was the video’s creative director, that’s what really counts.
“I think the most significant thing about a performance like this is the way in which young people forge friendships across cultures,” said Haig. “When you put young people who are from different continents together, and let them make music together, you’ve got the basis for the kind of world that we all want.”
Singing World will compete for prizes this Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, at the Sixth Annual MorristownGreen.com Film Festival, at the Hyatt Morristown.
The Sixth Annual MorristownGreen.com Film Festival
Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013
Hyatt Morristown, 6 pm
Admission: Free. Live music: SteppingSTONE Band
Home-grown short documentaries; vote for your favorite!
Bring lawn chair / beach blanket for indoor beach party
The fun starts at 6 pm with music by the SteppingSTONE Band, followed by screenings of short documentaries (and even a few “mockumentaries”) by local filmmakers of all ages. Admission is free. It’s going to be an indoor beach party–so bring a lawn chair or beach blanket and your favorite Hawaiian shirt.
Spectators will vote for their favorite entry, and Critics’ Choice and Diversity prizes also will be awarded.
But for Haig, who has directed many short-form pieces as part of her nonprofit New Jersey Arts News, winning comes second to getting across her core message.
“In every city where I was conducting, the news was dominated by politics, finance, and controversy. But where was the creativity?” said Haig. “You need more than issues to build healthy and creative communities.”
And with an emphasis on community and culture that hits so close to home, this entry just might leave festival attendees singing its praises.
MG Correspondent Ben Burgess, a 2012 graduate of Morristown High School, plays bass with Timeless Jazz and was a finalist in last year’s MorristownGreen.com Film Festival. He attends Carnegie Mellon University.