Island SchoolIsland School’s four choral ensembles, together comprising the Island School Chorus, take center stage at the Kaua’i Community College Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, April 20 to present their 8th annual spring concert.

Turn the World Around showcases over 115 students in grades 4-12 paying tribute to folk songs from around the globe.

“Folk songs often seem so simple at first hearing but can be lovely and deeply moving when one really listens,” said Philip Steinbacher, conductor at the school since the chorus’s inception in 2006.

As an educator, he said he finds it important for him to encourage students to explore new and unfamiliar music.

“The melodies of various cultures may at first seem odd, the harmonies unusual, and the language, of course, unfamiliar,” Steinbacher said. “The sentiments, however, are universal. Folk music unites us because it demonstrates that, though different on the surface, the things that matter in the truest sense, like home, family, love, beauty, friendship, and peace, are valued by all of humanity.

Things that at first appear different, he said, can actually be very similar.

“Isn’t now a great time for students to learn – and adults to remember – that this is so?” Steinbacher said.

The concert’s title, Turn the World Around, comes from the title of a piece written in the 1970s by singer Harry Belafonte, who had this to say about his song: “…all of us are here for a very, very short time. In that time that we’re here, there really isn’t any difference in any of us, if we take time out to understand each other. The question is: Do I know who you are, or who I am? Do we care about each other? Because if we do, together we can turn the world around.”

Steinbacher said he hopes, in some small way, the concert can help to turn the world around.

“I’m hoping people gain some self understand and in turn be open to understanding others a little more clearly through gaining an appreciation of this wonderful music,” he said. “People from all around the world are making beautiful, fun, charming, lovely music! It’s an honor to be able to share just some of that at our concert.”

Turn the World Around is accompanied by Rose Alfiler. Island School’s four choral ensembles are Alaka’i Chorus, Kahikina Chorus, ‘Opio Chorus and Keiki Chorus.

The concert is at KCC in Puhi April 20 at 6:30 p.m. Adult tickets are $10, and youth ages 3-17 pay $5. Tickets are available at the Island School office now.