BENNINGTON -- For a flash mob, the buzz was certainly out.
Downtown Bennington was the place to be seen and heard Wednesday, just as the big clock chimed noon, as about 40 students of the Summer Sonatina music program celebrated its final week with a musical visit to Main Street.
Led by a piano and singer hidden away in Madison Brewing Co. Pub and Restaurant, young people already on the street and streaming out of several businesses sang several choruses of "Do-Re-Mi" from "The Sound of Music" as they converged on Madison's.
The concert continued for nearly an hour inside, but the real show was out on the street as the word of the flash mob was out and the streets were crowded with people and applause.
Both the people and the applause were just what Polly van der Linde, director of the Sonatina Enterprises programs, wanted from the event.
"You need local audiences; you need to put it out there," van der Linde said, as the concert music filled the air at the brew pub. "As you are hearing in the background, there are some pretty talented students. ... Kids really do respond to applause ... Do you hear the joy in their voices? It is fabulous."
Of course, youth being young, she had no trouble getting the kids to get into the flash mob music scene.
"No," the kids were all for it," she said. "I had some trouble convincing myself that it was not going to be a flop."
Not to worry. The street event went over well, as has the series of public performances this summer.
The Summer Sonatina International Piano Camp, which has been in residence for weeks will hold its last public performance at the Bennington Center for the Arts tonight, July 19, at 6 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.
"They have a fabulous piano there, it is known as a Fazioli. It is a handmade piano, and for a small town like this to have an instrument like that is extraordinary. You mention that to a pianist and they say "In Bennington?" We are very lucky to have that resource, thanks to the Laumeisters."
The Summer Sonatina is in its 43rd year and brings students age 7 to 16 from all over the country and Canada to Bennington. One student, 12-year-old Gabe Randall from Amherst, Mass., is now in his third year and he keeps coming back.
"I am really serious about playing piano, and also I have loads of friends here," Randall said. And he agrees that part of the fun of the camp is the unexpected, like the flash mob.
He said van der Linde said, ‘Let's do a flash mob,' and we said ‘That sounds like fun.' Everybody was really excited, except like two people who thought it was a load of work. They did it anyway and it has been really fun."
In addition to the live performances, performances are also webcast via the Sonatina's website, at sonatina.com.
"As a result of putting it out there, over 2,000 hours of watching has occurred," van der Linde said.
Later in the summer there will also be a summer adult program, "The Sonatas -- The Intermezzos," and while there will be not public performances as there were with the youth camp, there will be more webcasts.
"They are much more private with their performances," van der Linde said.
But she did admit that there may be some more mob action this summer.
Contact K.D. Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the concert tonight, call 802-442-9197.