Music Professor Releases Children's Folk Music CD
(Released: June 19, 2002)
By Allison Thompson, Office of University Communications
STORRS, Conn. -- Listen to most children's CDs, and you'll
quickly notice that many of them feature professional adult
singers. But a CD now being released by Mary Ellen Junda, a
University of Connecticut professor and nationally recognized child
development vocal specialist, features folk songs sung by children
who sound both childlike and professional.
"I wanted people to realize that children are capable of
singing artistically and in tune," says Junda, director of
Treblemakers, an associate professor of music, and associate dean
of the School of Fine Arts.
Earlier this year, Junda released "Singing with
Treblemakers: Our Favorite Folk Songs," which features nine
young performers singing 23 folk songs. The singers, between 11 and
14 years old, were all members of Treblemakers, a choir Junda
created in 1992 in the College of Continuing Studies' Community School of the Arts.
According to Junda, the CD provides children from five to 10
years old with age-appropriate songs and vocals that fit a
child's singing range. The recording features an eclectic
selection of folk songs from numerous musical traditions including
African, British and Native American.
To decide which songs to record, Junda researched several genres
of American folk songs then sang them to her seven-year-old son
Nikolas. The tunes he was still singing days later, which included
"Alouette," "When the Saints Go Marching In,"
and "Froggie Went A Courtin,'" were put on the
"They're in the body of American folk songs that
children should know," says Junda.
To record the CD, Junda needed a handful of singers who could
handle the rigors of producing a professionally recorded disc. She
eventually selected nine singers from the 35-member choir to
perform on the CD.
"These children definitely had both maturity and musical
skill," Junda says. It took a strong blend of both to make the
CD, which took a year to record and required the singers to make
frequent trips to a Wallingford studio. During the process, the
performers bonded and became friends, Junda says. They also
exhibited true professionalism, often being harder on themselves
than the adults were.
"Their ears were as good as their voices, if not
better," says Junda, noting that the singers sometimes asked
to redo a song if they thought they could do better. "They
were more critical than I was."
"I think it made all our dreams come true as musicians and
as artists," said singer Meghan Gerrity, who will be a junior
at Tolland High School in the fall, of an experience she deems
Four UConn students were among those who provided instrumental
This is the second Treblemakers CD Junda has produced. In 1998,
she released "Singing with Treblemakers: Songs for Young
Singers," which featured 14 performers, one of whom is also on
the latest CD. The first disc received a coveted Parents'
Choice Gold Award from the Parents' Choice Foundation. During
the 2002-2003 academic year, Junda plans to begin working on a
third Treblemakers CD.
The discs are available at the UConn Co-op or http://www.cdbaby.com.
June 2002 Releases
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