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Close Harmony, of course!

It is a musical time in the Archives. A faculty member’s recent request to see the highly-acclaimed Academy Award winning documentary Close Harmony sparked nice memories. Filmed at BFS during the 1979-80 school year, Close Harmony was directed by alum parent Nigel Noble and chronicles the Intergenerational Chorus, which was the brainchild of our Lower School music teacher of the time, Arlene Symons. The Intergenerational Chorus was comprised of BFS 4th and 5th graders and their senior citizen pen pals from another choral group Arlene led, from the Council Center for Senior Citizens of the National Council for Jewish Women’s Brooklyn Section. This wonderful collaboration brought joy, friendship and music into the lives of both groups
, with the Intergenerational Chorus eventually performing publicly in NYC, Washington, DC and elsewhere. In addition to its 1981 Academy Award for Best Documentary-Short Subject, Close Harmony received an Emmy, a Christopher Award, and an award from the National Council on Aging. As it breaks down stereotypes and reminds us of our common humanity, Close Harmony remains one of the most wonderful ways to spend a half-hour. Close Harmony was screened at MOMA’s Oscar’s Docs, 1950-87: Creative Expression in 2012, it is available for purchase through Filmakers Library, and a DVD copy of Close Harmony is available for loan to the BFS community from the MS/US Library.

The Intergenerational Choir at Brooklyn Friends School