Langley Music Project

So you're disillusioned by the music factory which manufactures pop stars by grinding no-talent hacks through the marketing machine? Here's a refreshing variant on that story: The Langley Schools Music Project. Music teacher Hans Fenger took 60 school children from rural western Canada and taught them a few pop music tunes.
That the music was eventually recorded onto a CD was not the original goal of the group. But thankfully for us it was. I'd never heard of them until last week. I was trying to track down a charming version of Desperado I'd heard on NPR. By chance, an article crossed FeedDemon about those musical snippets played between stories on NPR's All Things Considered. Turns out those are called music buttons. Scanning through the archives, somehow I was led to the CD which I then purchased from Amazon.
Just a week later, I can listen to Desperado as sung by 9 year old Sheila Behman (the Internet is great for near instant satisfaction, but it's also made me very impatient). All the songs exude the charming joy of an elementary school chorus concert; any parent who has looked on proudly as their son or daughter belted out Christmas tunes on stage during the annual Christmas assembly knows the sensation. Of course, none of the singers are as vocally talented as your average recording artist. But what is wonderful about the way children sing is that they eschew the gratuitous sentimentality of someone like Faith Hill or Celine Dion. If the song is written well and the arrangement appropriate, the emotions will shine through even without Celine Dion's operatic megaphone of a voice belting or her rail-thin arms gesticulating (the musical equivalent of over-acting).