The 5th and 6th graders in the Barton Hills Elementary School Choir are known for singing rock’n’roll songs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, including music by a few bands who are playing ACL. Last year, as I wrote for Texas Monthly at the time, that meant songs by Muse and Wilco.

But this year’s fest set upped the ante: Barton Hills music teacher Gavin Tabone and his charges not only performed songs by Belle and Sebastian, but were also joined by the Scottish group’s songwriter and frontman, Stuart Murdoch, for a few of them.

(Vaudevilleish introduction of Murdoch by 6th grader Kef Van Nort, who’s snipped his dreadlocks since 2013).
The collaboration came about after SXSW recruited the BHC to “open” for a screening of Murdoch’s film “God Help the Girl.” Murdoch was so delighted with the choir’s set that afterwards he told them (in front of the entire Paramount Theater audience), “I’m going to write a song for you!”
There hasn’t yet been time for that (Belle and Sebastian literally just finished work on its new albumGirls in Peacetime Want to Dance, the day before they got to Austin). But once the band was booked for ACL, Murdoch’s cameo with BHC was just about inevitable.
“The kids absolutely adore you,” Tabone told Murdoch after the day was over. “This is something they’ll never forget. [And] the greatest experience in my 15 years of teaching and choir directing.”
The choir will perform with Murdoch once again at ACL this Friday at 11:15am. And if something fun should also happen during Belle and Sebastian’s own ACL Weekend 2 set later that night, well… don’t let anybody say they “didn’t see it coming.”

(Photo by Chan Geltermeyer, Videos by Amy & Chan Geltermeyer)