Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Time is Here!

We're in New York. Nobody minds spending a week in one of the world's greatest Christmas cities - even if it's raining. We sing 6 concerts in the Medieval Sculpture Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and appear on NBC's TODAY, book-ended by concerts in South Orange, New Jersey and Westhampton Beach, New York. Our Christmas tour began, as is tradition, in Fairfax, Virginia at George Mason University on Thanksgiving weekend.

The Merchandise team and Brian haul in early...We have a new CD, "Best of Chanticleer," and "Yuletide Log" on offer this year; the table has been busy.

Performing in the Medieval Sculpture Court is something we look forward to all year. Not just because of the hall - the audience is incredibly warm, and many have made our concert a Christmas tradition since we began doing them - oh so long ago.
They seemed very pleased with the concert - especially glad to have Cui's magnificent Magnificat back in the repertoire.

Tuesday and Thursday evening we'll sing here at the Metropolitan Museum again. Watch for us on NBC's TODAY on Friday morning. We'll be getting to the studio at 6am to do it, so we want you in front of your TV's!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving day, everybody, wherever you are.  Then come with us on our Christmas tour, starting Sunday in Fairfax, Virginia!

Monday, November 16, 2009

November: on the streets of San Francisco

After rehearsing Christmas some more, we posed for some pictures to promote a concert-party we're doing in Paris on January 23. That evening will be at a place called Le Dansoir, and takes place the night after we do our Orlando di Lasso concert at L'Oratoire du Louvre at the beginning of our big winter European tour. The photo location is on Market Street near our office and rehearsal hall.

We attracted some attention from passersby, needless to say....

November: back in the saddle

Not at the ranch in Arizona, but in our own rehearsal hall, seriously preparing for the Christmas tour which starts on the 28th.

This morning we're rehearsing Hodie nobis cælorum Rex by Giovanni Maria Nanino.
Meanwhile upstairs, Ben works on organizing our educational program, especially the National Youth Choral Festival which comes up in March. We'll be announcing the list of participants soon - coming from Georgia, Oregon, Virginia, Hawaii, Southern California and around the Bay Area. Later this week, Ben looks forward to seeing the Analy High School chorus again. They were at our Youth Choral Festival in San Francisco last year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

November: another busy week for Ben

Ben Johns, Chanticleer's Education Director, on his way in to Gateway High School ( a charter school) in San Francisco where he worked with the brand new chorus, directed by Dee Spencer.

Gateway was the sixth school Ben visited this week. At Santa Rosa he was able to work with three of the choral groups, and was amazed and happy to see that there are 400 students at Napa High School involved in choral activity. To the south of us he visited Mills and Menlo High Schools and the Ragazzi boys' chorus, and in San Francisco Waldorf and Gateway.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November: howdy again from the ranch

Today it was Jace and Matt's turn to have the wonderful and relaxing horseback experience. Heather, their guide, was great, as were the horses Toupee and Hanyak (we knew you'd want to know!). This was a fantastic way to finish off a pretty long tour. One last concert tonight- at the Del E. Webb Center- and then we'll head to San Francisco tomorrow to get good and ready for Christmas which starts for us on November 28 in Fairfax, Virginia - a far piece from here...

November: Wickenburg, Arizona

Staying at the magnificent Rancho de los Caballeros....Surrounded by the beautiful Arizona desert. Quail, hummingbirds and rabbits dart among the cacti surrounding our individual bungalows.

The beautiful Southwest as advertised.

Horse-riding, of course!, of which Cortez writes: "we had a blast, Brian seemed to have been a natural, while I struggled a bit when we decided to pick up some speed.  I was bouncing up and down, sorta like a bobblehead, despite my tryin to grip my legs around that huge horse.   Dylan was bounced for a while, but he felt he got the hang of things on our third "sprint".  Anyhow, after we finished riding, we enjoyed a little bonus activity.  We got on the back of a truck seated on bushels of hay and our instructor showed us some of the end of the day cowboy duties.  After driving a circular path closing off waist high fences, we stopped at the last one and waited briefly, only to see the herd of horses running around the path, followed by a cowgirl keeping some of them in line. It's a different kind of life than ours, to be sure, and we were really glad to glimpse a little bit of it."

We might try skeet shooting tomorrow...stay tuned.

An interview-reception at the hotel's golf club ended a wonderful day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

November: Phoenix, Arizona

We had a big day Sunday working with choral singers. Here's Matt with all the directors.

If it's Phoenix, there must be a swimming pool. We were particularly happy to see this one, in the Clarendon Hotel, welcoming us after our workshops.


Matt worked with singers on the Biebl Ave Maria - everybody's favorite - and ours of course. A good thing, because we're about to sing it about a hundred times!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

November: Ogden, Utah

We flew from Santa Fe (actually Albuquerque) to Denver, then Denver to Salt Lake City, then drove here to Ogden, Utah for a concert Saturday night at the Austad Auditorium in the Browning Center for the Performing Arts. The Deseret News said that we had never sounded better! That was nice to hear...  We were happy to see Mary McDonald and Taylor Worth - alums of our Chanticleer in Sonoma workshop, which is held in the summer in beautiful Sonoma county for about 60 choral singers aged 18-80 from all over the country.  you blog followers will already know how much fun THAT is!.


Friday, November 6, 2009

November: Santa Fe

This was a first time in Santa Fe for a number of us, who now of course share our love for this unique place which we don't get to often enough! The Lensic Performing Arts Center is another presenter with an impressive outreach to kids - here we performed for 750 - mostly 4th, 5th, 6th grade, but some High School as well.

This 45 minute show was in the morning; in the evening we performed for a packed house in the Lensic. Our new CD "Best of Chanticleer" and our new burning log
made their debuts on the CD stand. We sold every copy we had of "Best of..." which features some new numbers that people have been asking for!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November: meanwhile back in San Francisco

Our Education Director Ben Johns (former Chanticleer baritone) is conducting workshops like this this week at Lick-Wilmerding in San Francisco, Washington, Hillsdale and Palo Alto High Schools on the Peninsula, and Concord High School in the East Bay.

This was today at Lowell High School. Lowell is one of close to a dozen choruses from here and around the country we have invited to our National Youth Choral Festival: "The Singing Life" in March here in San Francisco. We'll be announcing the list of participants soon. Lowell and their director Jason Chan were working on their Christmas repertoire - songs a former Chanticleer singer knows very well!

Tannenbaum, O tannenbaum is in 3/4 time!!!

November: Fort Worth, Texas

As always, a huge treat to sing in Bass Hall for a packed house.

t is the mission of Bass Hall to get every student in Fort Worth into the Hall at least once a year. There were 1700 students at our concert, including all of the high school choral singers we had worked with yesterday. We love seeing them in the lobby afterwards!

So long, Texas, we'll miss you and your legendary hospitality, but we're movin' on to Santa Fe!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November: Fort Worth

Two studios in the fantastic Bass Hall in Fort Worth were the site of an intense day of working with high-schoolers - three of us were assigned to each choir, two choirs working simultaneously. Choirs came from Paschal, Northside, Seguin, Dunbar, Birdville, South Hills, Grapevine, Richland and Western Hills High Schools. Amazing! Participating in Bass Hall's admirable education program has become a tradition with us, and we always look forward to it, as well, of course, to the great pleasure of singing in the hall.

Monday, November 2, 2009

November: we have a winner!!

Every two years we have a Student Composer Competition. We are happy to announce that the 2009 winner is Yi-Wen Chang. We will give the world premiere of her piece (whose text is a Sung Dynasty poem by Xin Qiji) at the final concert of our National Youth Choral Festival on March 29 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. We'll sing it along with the 250 high school choral singers who will participate in the three day festival.
Yi-Wen Chang received her bachelor degree in music theory and composition from National Taiwan Normal University, and a masters degree in choral conducting at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. Currently she works as a music teacher in a junior high school in Taipei, Taiwan and as the music director in her church.

October: Houston, Texas

Sometimes people are surprised to find out that Chanticleer is a 501-c-3 non profit corporation with a Board of Trustees which takes on the responsibility of governing the organization and making it possible for us to realize the four pillars of our mission: live concerts, recordings, education, and commissions. Our Board of Trustees is great! They are very committed to ensuring the future of Chanticleer, and they join us here and there around the world to see how it's going. Dr. Susan Carlyle, our Trustee in Houston, along with her husband Dr. Dennis Carlyle and THE caterer in Houston, Jackson Hicks, gave us a benefit party on Friday night at The Corinthian ( formerly one of those magnificent bank buildings which now house beautiful events) - a short concert and a long and friendly (and delicious) candlelit dinner. Trustee Peggy Skornia came from San Francisco to attend. We enjoyed it a lot and we thank Susan for her ongoing support and encouragement and the friendly folks in Houston for coming to see us. We have a day off here tomorrow, then on to Fort Worth for a day of workshops with High School kids, and a concert at the wonderful Bass Hall.