ACL Preview: Barton Hills Choir

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We’re thrilled to be covering the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) again this year. Whether you are going Weekend One, Weekend Two, with or without kids, we want to be your go-to source for the Festival. We’ve listened to all the bands and have picked the ones we think you should have on your schedule. Are you ready for some great music?!

I remember being part of the school choir in middle and high school and singing Cole Porter and songs in Latin. Times have certainly changed. The Barton Hills Choir is sending its 5th and 6th grade members to ACL this year. In addition to what might be deemed more “traditional” choral arrangements, Barton Hills Music Teacher and Choir Director Gavin Tabone has added a few new songs to the group’s repertoire from artists who will be playing at the festival, like Wilco and Muse.

Gavin has been at Barton Hills since 2009, and prior to that served in a similar role at Palm Elementary, where he snagged gigs at South by Southwest and the Today Show. Having been in bands for decades means that Gavin also knows all about booking gigs, doing soundchecks and promoting shows, which can only help his students prepare for performances.

What’s the time commitment to be a part of the choir? “Choir starts in the Spring of second grade,” explained Gavin. “We have many different choirs. The full choir is about 150 kids ranging from second to sixth grade. Our traveling choir is made up of fifth and sixth graders. They do about 10 to 12 shows a year. We practice every Tuesday after school until 4pm and we also practice every morning before school starts.”

We caught up with one former and two current choir members (both who will be performing at ACL), who answered some questions from us about what it’s like to perform, why they joined and what’s been their favorite part of being in the Barton Hills Choir.

You can catch the Barton Hills Choir on Friday, October 4th and Friday, October 11th from noon-1pm at the Zilker Tent Stage.

Barton Hills Choir ACL

Zoe is a seventh grader who was in the choir during fifth and sixth grades and will be performing at ACL this year.

LiveMom: What made you decide to join the Choir?

Zoe: I joined the choir because I have always loved to sing and when I came to Barton Hills and met Mr. Tabone, I thought he made singing in the choir seem even more fun.

LiveMom: Was the opportunity to get to sing some non-traditional songs or perform at different types of venues (ACL, for example) part of your decision to join?

Zoe: No.

LiveMom: Did you get nervous before performances? If so, how did you deal with stage fright?

Zoe: It depends on how many solos I had. (In BHE choir, a solo is when you sing a little bit on your own) The way I deal with stage fright is by taking deep breaths and telling myself I will be with my friends and the rest of the choir the whole time.

LiveMom: What bands did you learn about from being a part of the Choir? Do you think being a part of the Choir made you more interested in music and performing?

Zoe: I know a lot of songs by the Mamas and Papas and The Monkees and Flaming Lips and Stevie Wonder and Duke Ellington. I knew these bands existed but now I know songs by them. Being in the choir has made me more confident performing even though I was already interested in music.

LiveMom: Did you perform at ACL last year? If so, describe that experience.

Zoe: No, 2 years ago when I was 5th grade, only 6th graders did ACL, and last year we (Barton Hills) didn’t do it. So this is my first chance to do ACL, as a 7th grader. I am performing with the BHE choir since I attended choir camp with Mr. Tabone this past summer, but I go to O. Henry Middle School this year.

LiveMom: What was your favorite performance with the Choir?

Zoe: My favorite performance with the choir was my first time performing with them, at Ruta Maya and we were all wearing our Halloween costumes. One of my other favorites was when we recorded at KUT’s new studio.

LiveMom: Are you still participating in a Choir in middle school?

Zoe: I wanted to but orchestra is at the same time, so I couldn’t. I play the viola.

Quinn is a fifth grader who will also be part of the Choir during ACL.

LiveMom: What made you decide to join the Choir?

Quinn: I like singing.

LiveMom: During which grade levels have you participated?

Quinn: Grades 2-5.

LiveMom: Was the opportunity to get to sing some non-traditional songs or perform at different types of venues (ACL, for example) part of your decision?

Quinn: Yes.

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LiveMom: Did the fact that the Band Director is in a band himself make it seem any different than other choirs?

Quinn: Yes, definitely.

LiveMom: Do you get nervous before performances? If so, how did you deal with stage fright?

Quinn: Yes. I just tell myself I will do great & I take deep breaths.

LiveMom: What bands have you learned about from being a part of the Choir?

Quinn: Wilco & Stevie Wonder. This year we got to do Muse songs also, which I really like and can’t wait to see them perform at ACL.

LiveMom: Do you think being a part of the Choir made you more interested in music and performing?

Quinn: Yes.

LiveMom: What are you looking forward to most about performing this year?

Quinn: Doing all the Muse songs we’ve been practicing. It is going to be great!

LiveMom: What has been your favorite performance so far with the Choir?

Quinn: The summer choir camp performance at our school this year was my favorite because it was so energetic.

Miles is also in fifth grade this year and will be performing with Quinn and Zoe and another few dozen other Barton Hills students at ACL.

LiveMom: What made you decide to join the Choir? During which grade levels have you participated?

Miles: Both of my sisters did it and it seemed like fun – so I decided to join.

LiveMom: Was the opportunity to get to sing some non-traditional songs or perform at different types of venues (ACL, for example) part of your decision?   

Miles: Yes, I really like the music that Mr. Tabone picks. Some of my favorite bands now are people that I have learned about since joining choir. This is my first year to get to be in the older choir and I am excited to sing at different places.

LiveMom: Did the fact that the Band Director is in a band himself make it seem any different than other choirs?  

Miles: Yes, because he invites his band members to practice with us and it is really cool to sing with a band.

LiveMom: Do you get nervous before performances?

Miles: No. I just have fun.

LiveMom: What bands have you learned about from being a part of the Choir?  

Miles: MUSE, Stevie Wonder and Creedance Clearwater.

LiveMom: Do you think being a part of the Choir made you more interested in music and performing?  

Miles: Yes, very much.

LiveMom: Did you perform at ACL last year? If not, what are you looking forward to most about performing this year?  

Miles: I haven’t gotten to perform at ACL before but both of my big sisters have. I am looking forward to being in front of a bigger crowd, on a bigger stage and singing.

LiveMom: What has been your favorite performance so far with the Choir?  

Miles: I really like all of our performances. It is especially fun when we get to go different places around Austin and sing though.

If you can’t make it to the Festival, you can keep up with the Choir on their website.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.livemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Nicole-Basham-Sara-Marzani-Photography-livemom.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 7-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life”, or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of “advenchers”.[/author_info] [/author]

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About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

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