Viva Voce sings for Music in the Schools

The Siskiyou Institute will present Viva Voce in a special benefit concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, at Paschal Winery, 1122 Suncrest Road, Talent.

The fundraiser will lend support to Siskiyou Institute's Music in the Schools programs. The institute seeks to foster the growth of the performing arts in southern Oregon by hosting performances, seeking grants and contributions and promoting workshops, symposiums, and classes.

In the winter of 2006, the Siskiyou Institute began offering a new Artists-in-Schools component to its programming. The program began with a small donation from the Ashland Schools Foundation and continues to grow.

The idea is to expand upon the institute's concert and workshop series by having the guest artist, when available, lead a workshop in a school or schools during their visit to the Rogue Valley. The program also recruits artists from the ranks of local music teachers and performers to provide year-round program opportunities.

This program fills an important need for students and music teachers alike in the southern Oregon area who have been affected by continuing budget cuts to the Oregon public schools system, institute officials say. Students are given the opportunity to meet with, hear, interact and study with professional musicians and music educators from the Rogue Valley and beyond.

It also gives local music teachers the chance to further develop and enhance their teaching methods, compare and exchange ideas with other teachers and learn about new teaching techniques.

Viva Voce includes Tish McFadden, Brian Freeman, Don Harriss, Mike Vediner, Steve Fain, Lynn Fain, Rick Soued and Joanne Soued. Everyone in the group sings and between them they play guitar, mandolin, piano, banjo, upright bass and flute.

Rick Soued calls the group "The Human Jukebox." The audience calls out requests from a printed song list of more than 100 titles and the band obliges, inviting everyone to sing along with them.

Most of the songs on the request list come from the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Also on the list are "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz"; Woody Guthrie's "So Long, It's Been Good to Know You" penned back in 1940; and a Stephen Foster tune, "Hard Times," from 1855.

There are also some undated traditional songs like "Amazing Grace." They are songs that most people from little children to grandparents will recognize.

Tickets are $15, $10 for Siskiyou Institute members and $5 for students.

For reservations e-mail or call 488-3869.

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