I’m going to take a moment to brag.....this time, I’m bragging on my mother, Margaret Thomas. As many of you well know, she is the founder and director of the Mississippi Boychoir and has been at it for almost 15 years. Through the years, several of her boys have moved on from their boychoir experience to earn music scholarships to college, top roles on Broadway (The Lion King to be exact), entrance into the American Boychoir School, New York School of the Arts, travel to cities all over the world for the boys to perform in many International festivals....and those are only a few among many highlights.
Around 10 years ago, my mother conceived the idea to commission a musical work for orchestra and boychoir, written by a Mississippian and performed by Mississippians. The Shoe Bird, a children’s book written by Mississippi’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Eudora Welty, was chosen to be set to music by Samuel Jones, native Mississippian and current Composer in Residence at the Seattle Symphony. The work was premiered in a series of performances in 2002.
Six weeks ago Brilliance Audio released an audio of the Shoe Bird performed by the Seattle Symphony, the Northwest Boychoir, and narrator Jim Dale (you might recognize his name as the reader of all the Harry Potter books). The release was celebrated with two concerts by those performers, and my mom and some Mississippi Boychoir board members went out to hear them. Upon arrival the Mississippians were elated to hear that the audio had already been selected as a nominee for the Odyssey Award, given to the producer of the best audiobook for children or young adults, and it had made the long list for a grammy award.
Well, on Thursday, guess what audio was announced as a nominee for a grammy in the category of best musical album for children? You got it! The Shoe Bird! Amazon, where it is greatly discounted just in time for stuffing stockings or simply enjoying as an adult listener, heralds the work as being on a par with Peter and the Wolf. Also, if you want to pro-active with it's success, please go to your local library and ask that they order a copy of “The Shoe Bird.” Every child needs to listen.
My mother's passion has been to teach young boys how to use their voices and to expose them to the classics that are basically unmarked in today’s world. She’s given herself to developing their commitment to discipline, leadership and excellence.
I am very proud of her dillegence & HER commitment. She does her work with lot’s of love, and being witness to her hard work and watching her conception make it so far is very inspiring.
All the Best, Molly