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Broadway Conductor, Philly Native Leads Masterclass With Choir Students At GAMP

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- What a music lesson for the high school choir at Girard Academic Music Program in South Philadelphia. A Philly Pops guest conductor sat in on their rehearsal.

Back visiting his Philadelphia roots, before performing with the Pops at the Kimmel Center this weekend, the internationally known Broadway conductor, David Charles Abell, led the masterclass.

"Music theater is not a subtle art form. You've got to exaggerate. It's big gestures, big volume when you speak and sing, and bring lots of energy," said Abell. "It's not poetry, that's a beautiful, small art form. You're performing before 1,200 people in a theater, when you do a musical."

Abell dropped musical theater pointers, one after the other, after listening to a verse or two at a time.

"In the heights. One and the heights. You're getting there. Now, put some attitude in it."

The rehearsal came ahead of the public magnet school's own Broadway production, to be performed Friday night on the Plaza Stage at the Kimmel, before the Pops concert.

GAMP's curriculum incorporates both academic and music requirements, and all students are enrolled in music theory when not belting it out in the school choir.

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