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Charis Duke has been composing since she was about eight. In her family that was no big deal, her three siblings grew up writing music a07-22-09cover.jpg s well. “In my family, growing up, it was normal for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day to give my parents songs that we had written or something like that,” said Duke. “I thought composing was normal, that everybody did it.” Duke’s early start in the musical arena has turned out to be a great boon for the folks of greater Fayetteville. She has brought her experience and talent to the children of Snyder Music Academy’s summer camp, and they, in turn, are sharing it with the rest of us. She’s written a children’s opera, and while the performers are kids, the show is sure to dazzle young and old alike. August 7-9, at the Sol Rose Amphitheatre at Campbellton Landing, Snyder Music Academy presents the east coast premier of Tom Sawyer. “This is a legitimate opera production. It is an hour and a half long — and it is for everybody. It is going to be quite entertaining,” said Duke. If you are thinking of Pavarotti type performances though, stop right there. This piece was written with young voices in mind and is more about learning and the musical experience, having a good time and putting on a fun show than it is about hitting and holding high notes. “While we do try to use the classical opera form, the music is eclectic in style and I borrow from the time period and location of the story so Tom Sawyer has a lot of what I would consider Mississippi fi ddle type music. I used the blues and boogie woogie and a little jazz because that is all from America’s background and also just so that the kids get a nice spectrum. I tried to just incorporate all kinds of styles so that they can learn as much as possible — and it makes it more fun of course,” Duke said. Joy Cogswell, Snyder Music Academy director, is delighted to share Duke’s talent with the community and is happy about the success of the camp so far. “I’m excited about it. We’ve got some really talented kids and they all seem to be really excited,” said Cogswell. “This is something adults can enjoy even if they don’t have kids to bring. It will be light and refreshing.” In addition to the performances, the audience can get into the spirit of the evening and take a riverboat ride before the fun begins. From 5-7 p.m., Freddie Mims of Cape Fear River Boats will be offering rides for $5 a person. There are food and beverages at the amphitheatre and at Locks Creek{mosimage} Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, as well. “Folks can come and have a meal, take a riverboat ride and catch the show,” said Cogswell. “They can just make a night of it.” And what better way to spend a summer evening than enjoying a delicious meal, a relaxing ride on the river and an outstanding performance under the stars in the fresh air? The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.snydermbc. com or www.campbelltonlanding.com.
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