Trinity school wowed by Amazon Cello Choir

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Dr. Aureo DeFreitas performs with the Amazon Cello Choir at Trinity Lutheran School, in Alma, Tuesday, Sept. 6. He formed the choir in 1998, and was once a student of Trinity's music teacher, Dr. Linda Kruger, when she was sent to Belem, in Brazil, to form a string program through Partners of the Americas. (Charles Dunlap/The Concordian)

Some years ago Dr. Linda Kruger, music teacher at Trinity Lutheran School, at Alma, was sent to Belem, in Brazil, through Partners of the Americas. Her purpose was to establish a string program in the city.

One of her students was Aureo DeFreitas. He would go on to to also receive a Ph.D. in music education, like his mentor -- Kruger. With his knowledge and education, he formed the Amazon Cello Choir in 1998. He is also a professor at The Institute of Art and Science, at the Federal University of Para. He areas of focus are developmental disorders, learning disabilities, cello performance and chamber music.

The choir has performed in France, Portugal, Switzerland and China, among others. Prior to the official start of the choir's U.S. tour, in Columbia, DeFreitas and the choir visited Trinity Lutheran School to not only perform, but to also teach.

"Missouri has played a terrific role in the northern region of Brazil, particularly Belem, where I come from," said DeFreitas about his higher education taking place in Missouri, in an interview with KMUC.

DeFreitas practiced with Kruger's current roster of stringed-instrument students Monday, Sept. 5, and prior to the first of two concerts performed by the choir at the school, Tuesday, Sept. 6. The choir arrived in Missouri Saturday, Sept. 3. Because of certain travel restrictions, the group had to rent the cellos in Kansas City Sunday, Sept. 4, with which they performed.

DeFreitas spoke about the importance of music, especially for those with severe learning disabilities.

"I have ADHD, and I reached the highest level of study," he said.

According to DeFreitas, he also works closely with those who have ADHD or autism to learn music. He explained some members of the choir have either learning disability.

The string program established by Kruger started out with just cellos, he noted. It grew though in the years afterward, to include the entire range of stringed and bowed instruments.

"You learn to be a noble person when you learn from the start," said DeFreitas about Kruger's current students.

He then imparted on the audience the importance on learning how those with ADHD or autism think and learn. It is then you will understand them better, he said.

After DeFreitas' introductions, the choir performed a wide range of pieces -- from Pirates of the Caribbean, to The Beatles and even Metallica. DeFreitas said the choir tends to play recognizable pieces for the variety of audiences to which they perform. This allows the performances to have a sense of fun, as members are featured either by standing and playing, moving their heads along to the beat of the music or even playing a cello much like one would play a guitar.

A number of performances of the choir can be found by searching "Amazon Cello Choir" on YouTube. After the performances in Alma, the choir spent two days in Columbia, where it held performances at the Missouri Theatre in downtown Columbia, and at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri Campus. For more information about Partners of the Americas, visit www.partners.net.

A photo gallery of the choir's performance at Trinity is available on our website, at www.theconcordianonline.com/gallery/amazoncellochoir.

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