Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October: Our Youth Choral Festival in San Francisco

Every year at this time we invite six Bay Area High School Choirs to spend the day with us. This year it was SF School of the Arts, Menlo School, Davis High School, Mt. Eden High School, Analy High School and Acalanes High School. Everybody arrives at around 10am for a full day of music which will last until about 9pm.

After each choir is installed in its homeroom, we begin the day by singing for the 220 or so students and their choir directors.

Students are seated by voice category, hopefully next to someone from another school. We all warm up together.

Each choir brings two or three songs to perform and work on, and everybody learns a massed choir piece. Often this will be a new piece, written by the winner of our bi-annual Student Composer Composition. This year it's Steve Kim's
'Sanctus." Joseph Jennings introduces him to everybody.

We all (you can spot us amongst the students in our respective voice categories) rehearse "Sanctus."

Lunchtime in the courtyard is an opportunity to relax with friends and meet new ones, and take pictures.

After lunch each choir performs.

And after that, each choir works with two of us on the repertoire they've brought to perform.

We work on lots of things, including stage presence.

And then, around 4pm, it's time to put the combined choirs on stage, see if we fit, and see how we sound!

After we have a pizza dinner and a bit of down time, our audience arrives for the 7pm concert. We sing, each choir sings, and we all sing together. The students always amaze us and it's one of our favorite days in the year!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October: the American Classical Music Hall of Fame

We were invited to be inducted on the 9th into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, to join so many luminaries of American music. Very exciting. The complexities and expense of air travel being what they are, we elected to drive - quite a distance, but beautiful - from Lexington, Virginia where we had performed the night before. Byron Gustafson, our representative at Opus3 and Peggy Skornia from our Board of Trustees walked with us through a beautiful mid-western evening to Memorial Hall where the Hall of Fame is located.

Here's the American Classical Musical Hall of Fame in Memorial Hall, a wonderful and intimate hall built in the l9th century for lectures.

Joe, having received the medal, introduced us individually to the audience.

We sang some of the numbers from our program "Wondrous Free" which celebrates the rich diversity of American music since its beginnings. You can see that it was the perfect setting!

Joe and the medal and Brian.

At a buffet dinner afterwards, we met many very friendly citizens of Cincinnati.

The following evening we gave a concert in St. Peter in Chains, one of our favorite places in America. This cathedral was opened in 1845, and, as you will see, is very beautiful and a great place to sing.

Selling our new CD "Mission Road" to young and old..

Joe received the medal a second time, at intermission.

A standing ovation from our great and faithful Cincinnati audience.
And on we go to Knoxville, Tennessee which is where Brian comes from. After that Newberry, South Carolina, then home to prepare for Christmas.