Young, old unite to sing together at concert

“Music is the sport you never age out of,” said Laurie de Leonne, choir director for the Evergreen Singers.

And at the Music for All Generations concert, about 70 musicians —ages preteen to umpteen — proved it.

Music students from the Woodward Middle School Choir Club and seniors from the Evergreen Singers joined forces for the second annual Music for All Generations concert March 27. The evening’s program featured a few songs sung by Woodward students, then some by the Evergreen Singers, a performance by the Woodward jazz band and finally a rendition of The Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four” by a combined choir.

Woodward singers’ high treble brought an upbeat energy to the music, including the more somber tones of Sakura, a Japanese folk song, and the strident Ad Astra. The Evergreen singers, who enjoy a wider vocal range, kept with the Beatles theme: performing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Imagine and Blackbird. Woodward’s band shook up the jazz standards, including Jive at Five by Count Basie and What a Wonderful World.

The benefits of blending new and old doesn’t stop at the music. The origins of the concert came from a much deeper project: the social and emotional learning unit at Woodward. Around April every year, Woodward students begin the unit and learn about a population in the Bainbridge community through the lens of Woodward’s values: integrity, connection, compassion and “the deep dive.” Last year, the students focused on seniors.

Students found common ground with the seniors through their senses of humor and struggles through “rocky transitional periods” of life, but above all appreciation for music. The result was the first-ever Music for All Generations concert, which was so popular that the venue was standing-room-only during the performance.

Katie Gibbs, Woodward Middle School choir director, recalled feeling an “incredible connection with the community” that night.

“Having that cross-generational connection, with the commonplace being music, is so important,” Gibbs said. “We’re all Bainbridge Island people, and we all love to sing — it’s a really special moment.”