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Along the Athabasca River (DVD)

Inheritance Publications

PO Box 366
Pella, IA 50219

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.

Product review by Melissa Cummings, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, January 2011

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