by Teresa Jennings
The script leading into the song "Kindness" is called a "mini script" (Sequence 6). It is written for four performers, but you can adapt it for fewer or more actors, as you wish. The idea is for them to be very casual in their conversation, but talking to each other as opposed to talking to the audience. (This is different from all the other lines in the script, which are narrative and meant to be spoken directly to the audience.) The gist of the dialog between these friends is to set up the song, of course. But it's also to get kids thinking about the source of compassion, etc., being inside of them. This touches gently on the topic of character, too. All behavior stems from choices we make. Though we don't always get to choose our external world, we always get to choose our reaction to it, i.e., behavior. (If you're interested, we have an entire revue devoted to this topic. It's called From The Inside Out. Contact us for more information or visit our web site at MusicK8.com)
The song is quite approachable in its simplicity, style, and repetition so that all but the youngest singers should be able to learn it easily. You will note on the piano/vocal that we have indicated the first vocal entrance as an optional solo. Technically, this solo goes all the way to the pick-ups to measure 25. However, you can have your entire group sing it at any point that works better for your situation. As you will hear on the recording, we chose to use four different soloists for this entire solo section, breaking it into phrases. The music allows this naturally. Our soloists were (in order): Celia Ellsworth, Austin Davidson, Lauren Belanger, and Grace Morgan. At the end of the song, Grace returned to do the final solo, which is as usual, optional.
Also on the music, we have indicated a few vocal scoops. These help to make the tune feel more easy-going and pop oriented, but you don't have to use them. Nor do you have to use the divisi notes indicated during the choruses (measures 31 and 32). These sound very nice though and if your singers can do them, they will add a lot to the overall effect of the tune.
Speaking of the choruses, be sure singers keep the dynamic at mezzo forte until the second half of the chorus, which is at measure 33. It only lasts for four bars, but the nuance can be very effective.
At the end of the tune, there are some subtle tempo changes. Listen carefully to the rhythm section on the recording for assistance with following these changes.
Below you will find a few signs for some of the key words in the song. Signing helps to make a slower song more enjoyable, especially for older students. It also makes it seem more flowing and poetic, which it is.
The recording for this piece is really quite beautiful. The orchestra features a solo flugelhorn and soprano sax duet that comes and goes throughout the tune. The flugelhorn is played by Jeff Conrad, the sax by Jim Farrelly. Both are very nice. The parts are cued on the piano/vocal for both instruments in case you wish to perform the piece live and have your own soloists. Ideally, you would use the same instruments, but you can adapt if you wish. For example, use a trumpet and flute, or two trumpets, and so on. Transpose as needed. The piano part itself is reasonably playable.
As you have probably already figured out, this song - as well as the next one - could easily be used in a context outside of the revue. There is nothing in the lyrics specific to the revue only, and the sentiment is universal.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.