Big Voice | SLJ DVD Review

redstarBig Voice. 53 min. and 83 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2015. $89. ISBN unavail.Big Voice.

Gr 6 Up –Jeffe Huls loves music and his job as Santa Monica High School’s choral director. This exceptional documentary chronicles a school year as he uses all of his skills to pull the music out of students who are also dealing with their own teen issues. After finally being able to select a 32-person madrigal choir (a longtime dream), he finds that even students who had to audition for the ensemble are not always motivated to put in the necessary work. A combination of cajoling, encouragement, innovative techniques, sheer force of will, and a deep-held love of music play a role in motivating and teaching his students. The growth over the year is amazing but not without its tensions. Yet it’s obvious that the students recognize the crystal clear moments when everything comes together and their performance rises to a new level. Production values are excellent, with crisp video and audio, and the program comes in both an 83-minute and a 53-minute version, which would be a better fit, time-wise, for classroom use. VERDICT This film is inspiring and thought provoking. Secondary music teachers and students will find much here to appreciate, as will those who love music.–Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary, Federal Way, WA

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2016 issue.

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