Once again combining delightful texts with sweet music, The
Children of Asaph perform a collection of folksongs that
are suitable for any age and many varied settings. In just under
an hour, your children can enjoy music from around the world
as well as scenery from the beauties of Canada. It would be wonderful
if the insert included information on where each of the folksongs
originated, but perhaps that would serve as a good research project
for students viewing Along the Athabasca River. While
the music itself was recorded in a church setting, the majority
of the video footage includes the choir amongst beautiful Canadian
landscapes and destinations. Wagon rides, flowing rivers, rich
architecture, working farm machinery, friendly animals, and a
busy spider are among the images you will enjoy while listening
to a collection of twenty musical pieces.
Technically speaking, the video footage--while somewhat amateur--is
well combined and tasteful, but the audio isn't always tightly
synchronized with the video. As it is very difficult to understand
the sung lyrics without knowing the words, it is very helpful that
the DVD insert has included all of the texts. This could really
aid in making Along the Athabasca River a sing-along
opportunity for a family or class. Because the choir and soloists
are not perfect, children who are watching are encouraged to participate.
Although most of the pieces are choral, solo vocal pieces are interspersed
as well as an instrumental duet. Violin, viola, piano, and organ
add lyricism and color to the musical palette in this collection.
Also cleverly included is a piece described as a "double trio" (although,
perhaps, a "triple duet" is more accurate) combining adult and
child voices, which could serve as inspiration for even the smallest
of choirs to imitate.
A host of other resources are advertised as trailers at the end
of the closing credits; besides books of many types, both video
and audio previews are included, which is a great way to introduce
other styles of music as well as other instruments as options for
your child's listening library. Along the Athabasca River is
available for approximately $30, which I would consider a bit steep,
except for the fact that there is also an accompanying CD enclosed.
This "free" disc adds to the usefulness and adaptability of this
collection, making the price feel more reasonable.