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Students from Summer Sonatina perform Wednesday on Bennington’s Main Street, covering the Petula Clark song “Downtown” and substituting lyrics citing local businesses. (Peter Crabtree)
Students from Summer Sonatina perform Wednesday on Bennington’s Main Street, covering the Petula Clark song “Downtown” and substituting
Students from Summer Sonatina perform Wednesday on Bennington’s Main Street, covering the Petula Clark song “Downtown” and substituting lyrics citing local businesses. (Peter Crabtree)
Thursday July 18, 2013

ZEKE WRIGHT

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A flash mob of piano players spread some cheer and received applause in return downtown Wednesday afternoon.

Converging on a lone piano posted outside the Green Mountain Christian Center front steps, some 44 students and a dozen staff of Sonatina Enterprises gathered to sing a Bennington-centric rendition of the 1964 Billboard hit "Downtown."

The children, ages 7 to 16, were in town for the Summer Sonatina piano camp directed by Polly van der Linde.

Following a similar sudden showing last July during the final week of the summer camp, van der Linde said this week the performance was all in the interest of "good kid-friendly fun," and promoting Bennington.

Participants strolled downhill from Old Bennington shortly before noon and ducked into various Main Street businesses in groups. Segueing from their version of "Downtown" -- which revised verses to include local mainstays like Jay's Art Shop, South Street Cafe, Madison Brewery, and Evans' News -- students performed a fun piano skit before running through the song's main chorus once again.

Jay Sager and Alex Diaz put lyrics to the Summer Sonatina skit.

Shortly before the music began, three students who were repeat participants from last year said they enjoyed the public performance. Sixteen-year-old Shannon of New Jersey said she enjoyed last year's flash mob "when we were singing and everyone joined in" in one "big happy" chorus.


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She said the performance also showed campers' appreciation for the town of Bennington, which each of the three girls said they enjoyed visiting.

"It's a surprise for the majority of people," said Gracie, 15, from Louisiana. "They seem to enjoy it."

"It's good to have the chance to perform in front of a lot of people," added Melanie, 16.

A recently coined term for the sudden assembly of a group of people who perform in public and then disperse, word of Wednesday's flash mob was spread discreetly along social media, and drew a fair crowd for the performance.

For those who missed out, a full video of this year's (and last year's) performance will be posted online at www.sonatina.com.

Follow @Zeke_Wright on Twitter or email ewright@benningtonbanner.com