Barton Hills Choir gets a boost from Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch

Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian joins the Barton Hills Choir at ACL Fest.
Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian joins the Barton Hills Choir at ACL Fest. Photo by Jay Janner, American-Statesman.

Starting the Austin City Limits Music Festival off with dozens of singing children from the Barton Hills Choir was a no-brainer even without a bonus.

But after about a half-hour of the kids belting out classics from the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Beatles (plus some less-obvious choices), the Sculpture Tent really became the early place to be when sixth-grade choir member Kef Van Nort gave a boisterous intro to special guest Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian, who play their own festival set later tonight.

It wasn’t a surprise — Murdoch’s participation was previously announced — but it was no less wonderful for that. The performance peaked with four Belle & Sebastian tunes, including one of the band’s early favorites, “Me and the Major.”

The crew closed things out with ringleader Gavin Tabone and Murdoch leading the children through Belle & Sebastian’s “I Didn’t See It Coming,” the kids enthusiastically chanting out the final line: “Make me dance, I want to surrender.” Pretty much everyone in the crowd — parents, siblings, and those on-the-ball enough to have arrived early for the choir’s pre-noon set — felt just that way.

As the kids filed down the steps and off the stage after they finished, Murdoch stood to greet each of them with a high-five. Smiles and laughter and good vibes abounded, kicking the day off about as perfectly as could be imagined.

Author: Peter Blackstock

Music writer for the Austin American-Statesman and austin360.com. Twitter: @Blackstock360

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