Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March: National Youth Choral Festival - our first review!!!

The San Jose Mercury News calls us a 'resounding success.'

Monday, March 29, 2010

March: National Youth Choral Festival - The Singing Life - Gala Concert

We did it! The concert was amazing - stereophonic energy going back and forth from the stage to the audience. We started with Jubilate Deo by Gabrieli and Ave Verum Corpus by Byrd. Then the honor choir sang Wilbye's Sweet Honey Sucking Bees.

After the world premiere of Yi-Wen Chang's Chou Nu Er we gave the American premiere of Daniel-Lesur's Annonciation with Frederica Von Stade as the speaker, Matt Curtis as the Angel Gabriel, Patricia St. Peter as the soprano soloist, and an orchestra formed of members of Bay Area youth orchestras. (and Jace played the celeste.)

Annonciation was fantastic and beautiful. While the orchestra set-up was being struck, Ben described to the audience all the ways we used technology in our festival. He then invited them to get out their cell phones, take a photo, and send it out. We figured that if everybody sent it to everybody, we could reach about 500,000 people live!

We sang Spring Dreams and Summertime, then Michael McGlynn's greeted us by recording before we sang his piece Si do Mahaimeo I. Shenandoah featured Frederica Von Stade, and Wana Baraka
showed off Dylan's percussion skills.

After acknowledging all of the parents, friends, relations and supporters of the students, Matt asked the 12 choir directors up on stage to join their students in singing Biebl's Ave Maria. The Honor Choir and some of us sang the solos.

Then, after four great days, it was time to say goodbye. We wish all of our guests a safe trip home, and hope we see you again soon. Thanks for coming!

March: National Youth Choral Festival - last afternoon

After lunch we all went back to Davies Hall to see a masterclass by Frederica Von Stade and Zheng Cao - both operatic mezzosopranos. They brought along Nora Norden, French and German coach, just in case! Singers were chosen from taped auditions. First up was Patricia St. Peter, who is also singing a solo in Annonciation tonight at the concert

Nathan Wilen presented a song by Schubert.

Zheng Cao, Cara Gabirelson (who worked on Arditi's "Il Bacio,)" Frederica Von Stade and Patricia St. Peter backstage.

Big excitement for everybody then to hear Flicka's magnificent voice, singing with us in Shenandoah.

Christian Lesur rehearsed his remarks about his father, Daniel-Lesur, composer of the evening's American premiere.

The orchestra arrived and we rehearsed Lesur's "Annonciation" with Frederica Von Stade as
the 'recitant.'

Everything is rehearsed and ready to go, including our twitterpause - if you're sufficiently connected, you should get a picture from the stage of Davies Hall mid-concert!!! Wish us luck!

March. National Youth Choral festival -4th and final day - the morning

The day started at 9am for vocal hearings which 42 students had signed up for. Each sang a little for two of us, and got some feedback which we hope was helpful.

At 9.30 everybody descended upon Louise Davies Symphony Hall.

All twelve groups then sang two pieces on the stage. Our friends from Hawai - members of Gioventu Musicale of the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus - started off with a singing and dancing welcome and some Hawaiian songs to remind us about our place on this earth, and our responsibility to protect it.

They were followed by Piedmont High School A Cappella Choir under the direction of Joseph Piazza.

Bishop Amat Memorial High School under the direction of Jennifer Srisamai.

The Templeton High School Concert Choir, Joanne Stoddard, Director

The Santa Rosa High School Chamber Singers, Kira Bombace Director

The Lowell Choir, Jason Chan, Director

The CD Hylton High School Troubadors, Thomas Tutwiler, Director

Sandy Creek High School Select Mixed Chorus, Millie Turek, Director

Paso Robles High School-Las Voces Celestiales - Mary Hiestand Schmutz, Director

Palo Alto High School Concert Choir, Michael Najar, Director.

San Francisco School of the Arts High School Chamber Ensemble, Todd Wedge, Director

Pacific Youth Choir-Chamber Choir, Mia Hall Savage, Director

Sunday, March 28, 2010

March: Chanticleer's National Youth Choral Festival - Day Three

The big event of the day was the rehearsal (with our terrific orchestra) of Daniel-Lesur's "Annonciation." Christian Lesur, son of the composer, took the speaking part which Frederica Von Stade will do tomorrow. Matt Curtis sings the part of the arcangel Gabriel. After an hour and a half of rehearsal we ran it without stopping - it's beautiful, and although perhaps we shouldn't be the ones to say it, we thought it sounded really pretty good! Our audience will be the judge tomorrow night at Davies Symphony Hall.

Christian Lesur has been very encouraging since we met him in Paris on our European tour. It was very nice indeed of him to come all the way here, and we thank him.

We had also had a morning rehearsal of the pieces for the program which don't have orchestra.
To begin, we were allowed three minutes to say hello to each other, before getting on to "Shenandoah." Then we spent a good few minutes trying to get agreement on the first vowel.

Many other things happened throughout the day. More sessions on chant, the IPA, and vocal technique were packed. The Honor Choir had another rehearsal on their madrigal for tomorrow night. You'll note that their Chanticleer circle has got a lot tighter since yesterday.

Vance George, Music Director Emeritus of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, had another session for interested choir directors.

School of the Arts had its individual clinic.