a cappella-bration

JMU's a capella group, The Overtones, on stage at the children's museum's 10th Birthday Bash

JMU’s a capella group, The Overtones, on stage at the children’s museum’s 10th Birthday Bash

Sunday afternoon, Harrisonburg’s Explore More Discovery Museum celebrated its 10th year with a Birthday Bash in downtown. Among those showing up to celebrate was JMU’s a cappella group, The Overtones.

They were joined by three other JMU a cappella groups:  Low Key, BluesTones and Into Hymn.

These groups of singing students stepped onto the museum’s kid-sized stage and entertained a house that was packed wall-to-wall with kids, parents and friends — all there to celebrate a children’s museum that the community built.

Music is big at JMU. And there is plenty of styles and genres to go around. I counted seven a cappella groups alone. And that’s only one part of JMU’s amazing music tradition, which reaches from the reknowned 300-plus member Marching Royal Dukes to concert choirs and orchestras.  It’s a pretty music-filled university with something for everyone, it seems. And opportunities are not limited to music majors. Not at all.

Fortunately for Harrisonburg — and yesterday, for the museum — these students love to perform and to share their music. Almost anytime of the year, you can catch a concert, a performance, a recital, a duet, a jam session — and sometimes a CD release party.

JMU's BluesTones

JMU’s BluesTones

LowKey's sings Happy Birthday

LowKeys sing Happy Birthday

These students, who generously donated their time and voices, were some of the hundreds of students who help out at the museum every year. Fraternities, clubs, even classes and individual students make time to enhance the lives of local children through working with and for the museum. They do essential jobs from cleaning windows and sprucing up displays to interacting with visiting children.

Faculty and staff also regularly get in on the fun. You can sometimes find Ph.D.s teaching 6- to 12-year-olds about engineering or chemistry or nanotechnology. They conduct classes, help design programs, and man the museum that sees some 60,000 visitors every year.

It’s one of many ways JMU is engaged in the local community and regularly gives back to Harrisonburg, its home for more than a century.

Into Hymn adds their voices to the celebration

Into Hymn adds their voices to the celebration

Yesterday’s celebration was truly a celebration of community, and JMU has always stepped up to play a big part. Honestly, I’m not sure who was having the better time on Sunday — the gathered kids and parents listening or the JMU students singing. Definitely a toss up!

So congratulations to the museum and all those volunteers, and a special shout-out to the museum’s executive director, Lisa Shull (’85, ’91M), who was also a founder.

And thanks to all of JMU’s a cappella singers!

Take a listen to The Overtones at this link: http://www.jmuovertones.com. Check out the other a cappella groups at the embedded links above.

You can also search this blog for more information on Explore More Discovery Museum and the JMU website for more information on JMU’s tradition of musical excellence!

About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

2 Responses to a cappella-bration

  1. Paula Polglase says:

    What a lovely blog post! The celebration truly was magical and the JMU singing groups made it more so. Thanks for the re-cap!


    • grahammb says:

      It was fun, wasn’t it! I was surprised — and delighted — that so many came, even though the weather didn’t cooperate fully. The JMU vocalists are really amazing!!


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