Sunday, December 7, 2008

Premier Choir volunteers at Pine Street Inn!

On Saturday, December 6th, a collection of singers from the Premier Choir gathered at Pine Street Inn, New England's leading resource for homeless men and women, to help wrap holiday gifts for Pine Streets residents. "We recognize how much the Boston community supports us as a choir, so I think its important that we give back to our community and volunteer when we can" said Casey Accardi, a PC singer.

Singers enjoyed getting into the holiday spirit and bonding with each other as well as giving an impromptu student-lead performance of "Carol of the Bells" and "Keep Your Lamps" for fellow gift wrappers.

Later in the day, PC singers gathered at BCC central for a singer-planned workshop with Samaritans. They found the experience to be very beneficial and helped them to grow more in touch with themselves and with the choir community.

Concert Choir and YME performance at the MFA!

On Wednesday December 3rd, BCC's Concert Choir and Young Men's Ensemble performed at the Museum of Fine Arts as a part of the "MFA for the Holidays" performance series.
Museum-goers enjoyed free-admission to the museum as well as the joy of hearing BCC sing some classic holiday tunes as well as some of their regular repertiore.

BCC gathered in the lower level of the museum and did a quick warm-up and practice and then lined up to perform. After singing "Tzosholoza" from the escalator, CC and YME circled the upper rotunda of the museum and sang a few songs from that location.

Singers noted that the acoustics were amazing and were thrilled by how big their sound became in the space, especially on the song, "Circles of Motion". They then moved into Old European Master Paintings room and completed their set of songs. The audience, comprised of listeners of all ages, was very enthusiastic and engaged in the singing, and post-performance, many were interested to know when they could next see BCC perform! Overall, it was a great day for CC and YME.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BCC Fall Concert!

Guest Writer: Lydia Guterman, Concert Choir

We had the first all-choir concert of the year. It was spectacular! This year it was at Tremont Temple, and many new singers were introduced to performing on stage for the first time. Things were very crazy and hectic when all the singer arrived as expected, but if I must say, all choirs were absolutely wonderful! We kicked off the performance with Concert Choir singing, "Rain," "Fall," "Mocking of Youth," and "Circles of Motion." Two of these songs have been sung by the Premier choir in previous seasons, so it shows that Concert Choir is progressing along nicely. Next up we had the intermediate level choirs: Dorchester House II and Lyric. They sang a lovely set, one of my favorites being Bob Chilcott's "Like a Singing Bird". After their stunning performance we moved on to the training Choirs singing "Friendship Song" arranged by Doreen Rao, it was beautifully sung. Dorchester House I and Villa Victoria came next with their lovely voices. Finishing off we had Young Men's Ensemble and Premier Choir, BCC's most advanced choirs, singing gorgeous songs. Premier sang "Double Trouble" by John Williams, which tickled the souls of the Harry Potter fans in the audience. We closed with Premier Choir and Young Men's Ensemble singing "Keep Your Lamps" a moving spiritual. All nine choirs have really progressed a lot, especially in the last two years. Seeing and performing in this concert, and hearing about the great reviews from the concerts already put on this season, I have strong confidence that this 2008-09 season is going to be a great season for The Boston Children's Chorus!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Intermediate Choir Performance at Fox Hill Village!

On Saturday, October 18th, the Lyric and Dorchester House II choirs combined forces to perform at Fox Hill Village, a beautiful continuing care retirement facility in Westwood. After a day of retreat, the group of 40+ singers gave the audience quite a show, performing as an ensemble for the first time! This marked the first BCC performance, and first official stage performance for many singers in the group, which they found to be very enjoyable and rewarding. Not only did they sing a full set of freshly learned music, but they also demonstrated their solfege skills for the audience; Mr. Tk led them in a series of solfege patterns, which the audience was thrilled by. By the end of the performance, the singers were exhausted yet pleased with their performance and psyched for the season to continue.

Rose Kennedy Greenway Opening Performance!

Today, Premier Choir was met with two great opportunities. Not only were we able to perform, but we were also able to experience the opening of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a very exciting event for the city of Boston. (for more information, visit We gathered at the main stage for the celebration at 10:00am and were met by our dear friends from the Boston Arts Academy, who joined us once again to share their impressive dancing skills. After a brief rehearsal in a lovely tent designated for BCC, we played a few rounds of some fun energizing games in order to get ourselves alive, awake, and ready to perform. Finally, it was time to take to the stage! We opened with Stephen Hatfield's "Uberlebensgroß" a dependable show-stopper. We tried some new choreography at the beginning of that piece which was enjoyable and fairly successful. We then performed "Dravidian Dithyramb" with the help of the BAA dancers, who performed beautifully as usual. Its always fun to collaborate with other groups, the more the merrier! Then we closed with a classic rendition of Ysaye Barnwell's, "We Are" which we've been performing since the 06-07 season. Our set was well recieved by the quaint but enthusiastic audience and overall, we had a great first official performance!

YME Performs at Blooming Arts!

BCC was once again represented this year at Blooming Arts, a annual event featuring youth art organizations in the the Greater Boston Area. On Saturday, September 27th, BCC's Young Men's Ensemble performed for the event. This marked the first official BCC performance for many of the young men in the ensemble and was a very exciting and fulfilling day for all! To learn more about Blooming Arts, visit: Additionally, an excerpt from the day's performance was posted to youtube.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Performance at MassPort Convention!

Guest Writer: Maggie Vo

September 22nd was a very exciting day! Ten singers from Premier Choir gathered at 9:00am at the Hynes Convention Center to sing the National Anthems of the U.S.A. and Canada at the Opening Ceremony for the MassPort Convention. We performed in a beautiful function room for an audience of at least 1000 all of whom seemed to enjoy our singing. This performance was the day after we returned from our weekend retreat, so some of us were feeling slightly under the weather, but we still pulled through, performed to the best of our abilities, and had a great time as always. Some social highlights were playing a fun game of "six questions" backstage before performing and getting to see each other on a Monday, a rarity.

Premier Retreat!

Guest Writer: Casey Accardi

On September 20th, Premier Choir gathered at BCC Central (at the ungodly hour of 7am) to embark on their journey to the Earthdance Retreat Center, the location for this years retreat. Our goal as a choir for the weekend could be summarized in one word: growth. We strived to grow as musicians and learn tons of repertoire, as well as to grow closer to each other and bond as a group. Both of these goals, in my opinion, were met.

Musically, we had an extremely successful weekend. Mr. TK managed to pack seven rehearsals into 32 hours (thirteen of which were spent sleeping/traveling!) without making us feel stressed or overworked. We powered through page after page of music, and had a handful of pieces at a perform-able level by the end of the weekend. The most exciting part of the weekend, however, was the opportunity to create/deepen friendships within the choir. We were delighted to welcome 10 new first-year Premier members to the choir this season, and had many opportunities to get to know them throughout the weekend. We played a bunch of fun bonding games, had a choir bonfire (with smores!), and plenty of time to socialize and relax with one another, resulting in a new found feeling of unity throughout the group. We were blessed to be able to do all this at Earthdance, a retreat center in the Berkshires, that strives to inspire the art and spirit of improvisation. The center is usually used by improvisational dance groups, which meant there was beautiful studio space for us to rehearse in. We loved the acoustics in the Umbrella Dance Studio and enjoyed the simplicity of the dorm rooms we slept in.

Overall, the weekend was a great success; we experienced even more growth than expected and were able to kick-start what will certainly be a super performance season!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Camp For Young Singers '08

Guest Writer: Cyrus Dahmubed

This year the Boston Children’s Chorus held its annual Camp for Young Singers on August 11-15. This camp is designed for singers who have been accepted into the training choirs of the BCC for the upcoming season. This year 37 children participated in camp and they are going to be by far the most impressive and successful group of young singers the chorus has ever seen! The transformation that the singers made between Monday and Friday can be called nothing less than astonishing. Led by Mrs. Michelle Adams, Ms. Whitney Simmonds, Ms. Sarah Haughton and Ms. Valerie Ross, many of the young musicians went from never having seen a piece of music to reading and understanding music and even learned the basics of conducting and notation!

The camp was coordinated and facilitated by Ms. Isabelle Darling and Mr. Ray Daniels, and this years camp mentors were all singers who had been in either Premier Choir or Young Men’s Voice Class for at least one year and who had applied for the position and had been accepted based on their musical excellence and leadership skills. With the help of the staff and mentors the young singers learned much more than just music skills, but also proper rehearsal behavior and valuable life lessons. These singers are now a step ahead of their peers who have been accepted into the BCC this year and who will not have the advantage of all the knowledge the young singers gained at camp. These singers truly are the next generation of the Boston Children’s Chorus; they are Boston’s newest ambassadors and will implement social change throughout the world through music.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Oregon Tour Update: Day 9

This was the earliest morning of the tour by far, as everyone was required to be at the church at 4:30AM to head to the Airport. Our gracious host families drove us to the church, and we thanked them for being so kind and opening their homes to us, then boarded the bus. Once at the airport, we gathered into family groups, checked in, went through security, and prepared to travel back home to Boston. After getting situated, many of us took the opportunity to get some sleep, relax, and prepare to part from BCC for the summer. This flight did not feel nearly as long as the one over to Oregon, and was over in no-time, although we did have to briefly stall in the air over Logan as there were thunderstorms in the Boston area. Once we reached the airport, we had plenty of business to attend to in a very little amount of time. We voted for next season's Premier Co-Presidents and gathered to distribute superlatives, a BCC tradition. Each tour, choir members come up with a superlative for each member, examples being "most talkative" or "most likely to fall off-stage" which are then distributed accompanied by lots of laughter. This year's superlatives were quite successful and left everyone feeling loved and accepted. At baggage claim, singer gave big hugs to each other, and headed home feeling accomplished and missing BCC dearly!

Oregon Tour Update: Day 8

After being fed delicious breakfasts by our host families, we gathered back at All Saints to begin our day of sightseeing. Our first stop was the Multnomah Waterfall, an absolutely beautiful waterfall that was amazing to see in person, and also a fantastic photo-op. Some singers chose to hike all the way to the upper falls, while others made their way to the lower falls. Fun was had by all! We re-boarded the bus and then headed to a fish breeding facility, which was truly thrilling! We got to see fish ranging in size from less than an inch long, to over 6 feet. We munched on wonderfully prepared box-lunches and then headed to see some skilled sportsmen using the wind to propel their sports gear, which was very interesting. Many of us also attempted to skip rocks, however Mr. Tk took the cake for best rock-skipper. We got back on the bus once again, and headed to All Saints to rehearse for our final performance. Although our energy was running low, we rehearsed for an hour and a half, running problem spots in our songs, and practicing performance formations. We then feasted on a tasty dinner of lasagna and ice cream provided by the fantastic church community at All-Saints. After a final meeting where we gathered our thoughts, we headed into the hall for our last concert of the season! We gave it our all, leaving nothing left in our tanks as a final farewell to the '07-'08 season. Emotions were running high and many felt strong emotions both in performance and afterwards, feeling a strong sense of accomplishment realizing how much of a loving family Premier has become.

Oregon Tour Update: Day 7

After having a delightful goodbye-breakfast and saying fond farewells to our fabulous intern Marissa, we loaded on to the bus with our fantastic bus driver Ralph, and headed to Portland, Oregon. After about 2 hours on the bus, we stopped for lunch at a wonderful resturant in Portland called Macadams. I think all of us would highly reccomend it! We relaxed over lunch, and then headed to downtown Portland to do some sightseeing. We were pleased to see that Portland is VERY eco-friendly with a bounty of bike-riders and environmentally-friendly options. We stopped at Powell's, the largest bookstore in the world! There were three floors and enough books to last you a lifetime. We did some additional shopping, stopped for ice cream, and relaxed by a fountain for tanning and a great photo-op.
We then headed to the All Saints Episcopal Church of Portland, where we met our home-stay families, all of which we super kind and excited to have us. We broke off into families for the night and rested up for the day to come.

Oregon Tour Update: Day 6

On Sunday, we woke up bright and early to gather and head to a local church to perform. After a quick bite to eat, we boarded the bus and traveled for about 10 minutes to St. Mary's Episcopal Church where we were greeted by the very kind and inviting staff there. We quickly hurried into the chapel to close their 1st service with a performance of "Aint-a' that Good News" which was a hit! After the church-goers cleared the chapel, we situated ourselves in the choir loft and did a bit of rehearsing for the 2nd service of the day. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to perform at three different services, the end of the 1st one of the day, multiple times in the 2nd, and as the prelude for the 3rd. The 2nd service was quite enjoyable for us as we got to showcase many of our sacred pieces including "Praise His Holy Name" which came as a bit of a surprise as we hadn't performed it in months! Post-service, we gathered in the church's community hall for a reception with the church members, all of which were very gracious and curious about our chorus. We then sang as the opening for the 3rd service and headed back to UofO to further prepare for the gala concert.

We arrived back on campus and headed directly to lunch. Afterwards we had the opportunity to meet-and-greet with singers from the Oregon Festival Choirs, who will be touring to Boston next summer! We're very excited to have them visit us. We got to know each other and then sang Jim Papoulis' "Can You Hear?" a song that both BCC and OFC know and love! After saying goodbye to our new-found friends, we had a group meeting and then broke into small groups for the afternoon free-time. Some chose to go the Duck Store, where much UofO apparel was purchased. Others opted to relax in the courtyard. Everyone enjoyed taking a break from the music for just a little while.

Later in the afternoon, some BCC singers joined Mr. Tk on a trip to visit the Youth Choral Academy, a 10-day program which occurs in Eugene at the same time as Piccfest. We were kindly greeted by the staff and singers there, and were in awe of their beautiful sound and clear commitment to choral excellence. We had a welcomed and unexpected opportunity to perform, which we took with glee. We sang "We Are" which yielded a standing ovation from the 85 academy singers, pleasing for us. We also were invited to demonstrate our solfege abilities, starting in the key of C, modulating to MANY other keys, and magically finding our way back to C again. A true feat! We left the Academy feeling confident in the abilities of a small group of only 9 or 10 to represent BCC as a whole, and also amazed by the impressive things occuring at YCA.

After a speedy dinner, we boarded the buses to the Hult Center, our performance venue for the final gala concert. The very organized Piccfest staff got us into a fourteen row formation, and then lead us into the Center where we lined up on stage. After being on our feet and rehearsing for almost two hours prior to the actual concert, some BCC members began to feel slightly lightheaded, but of course our fantastic staff helped keep everyone well. When the final concert began, every BCC member gave it their all! We (all 350 festival singers!) performed a stunning performance and felt empowered by the beauty that can be created through choral music.
Exhausted, we booted our way out of the final pizza party as quickly as possible, after of course saying loving goodbyes to the new friends we had made at piccfest!

Guest Writer: Casey Accardi

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oregon Tour Update: Day 5

We awoke on Saturday filled with jubilation for the coming day. After a brief breakfast (which was later than usual, 8:30!) we headed to rehearsal, in which we prepared to perform at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The fantastic people from Spivey Hall Children's Choir managed to create a perfect numbering system that made it possible for us to line up at the performance. We practiced the songs that we were going to perform (Wir Eilen, Psalm 47, and Hope For Resolution) and then lined up to walk to the field upon which we were to perform at. After magically fitting onto the stage and risers, we performed a solid performance for a very interested crowd that rewarded us all with a standing ovation. Afterwards, we had a yummy lunch and then broke up into groups for free-time. Some chose to attend a discussion with the famous and fabulous Anton Armstrong, a legend in the choral world who is quite inspiring, and others relaxed and took trips into town.
Finally we traveled to the dining hall for dinner and then got all dolled up to attend the Bach B Minor mass at the beautiful Holt Center in Eugene. In our formal attire we boarded the bus, did our classic count off, and departed for town-center. Upon arrival at the Holt Center, we quickly made our way to our seats, and settled into the comfy chairs for the two and a half hour concert. We were all wow-ed by the performance and felt touched by the passion clearly radiating from every being on stage. We were fairly exhausted afterwards and returned to our dorms to get a good nights sleep, however, the ladies in the girls dorm had a late night pizza craving and ordered-out from a local pizzeria, creating a bonded feeling felt by all.

Oregon Tour Update: Day 4

Friday was another fun filled day for BCC. We arose bright and early at 7:30 for breakfast in the dining hall, and then proceeded to our 5th rehearsal of the festival. We felt more energized than ever before and it shone through in rehearsal through our shining and smiling faces. After rehearsal we made our way to lunch where we had fantastic three-cheese pasta and a fantastic selection at the salad bar. We then prepared for our personal workshop with Mr. Chilcott. The workshop concept is that each choir gets the opportunity to work one-on-one with Mr. Chilcott so he can provide personal tips and ideas geared to improve our performance. Our intention in our workshop was to get very detailed and extremely helpful pointers from Mr. Chilcott, and we got just that! We worked for our entire 30 minute session on the song "O Vos Omnes" which is a very challenging yet rewarding piece to sing. Mr. Chilcott was wonderfully helpful and assisted us in tuning and perfecting the song. It was very exciting working with him especially because he radiates energy and passion for choral music and is an inspiration. We also got to observe Blair Children's Chorus and The Academy of the Sacred Heart and Mid-Pacific Institute's workshop sessions, which were thrilling.

We were then presented with a variety of options for our free time. Some singers chose to go see the olympic athletes prepare for the track and field trials. Others elected to go into downtown Eugene to visit Starbucks and American Apparel. Some decided to attend a very fascinating discussion that included Bob Chilcott and the conductors and accompanists of each choir. Overall, everyone got to relax a little bit and rest their voices.

We then made our way to dinner which was followed directly by an evening rehearsal including all the choirs and representatives from the Eugene Youth Orchestra who would be joining us at our final Gala Concert to accompany us on a few pieces. This rehearsal was exciting as its always fun to work with an orchestra. Its always a rewarding feeling when you can join your musical talents with the talents of other musicians to enhance music. Post-rehearsal, we vetoed attending a ice cream social to share feelings and prepare for the day ahead. With a fresh new outlook on ourselves and the festival, we went to bed looking forward to the day ahead.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oregon Tour Update: Day 3

Guest Writer: Juliana Brandao

We woke up bright and early filled with enthusiasm for our second small choir rehearsal. We were greeted with the sounds of Peter Robb cheerily doing his best Julia Child impression in order to help us warm up our voices. It worked quite nicely! We felt the magic of music making strongly as an ensemble for the first time, especially through success in the piece Psalm 47. After lunch we had yet another rehearsal, this one including all choirs involved in the festival. We made great progress in the song “Circle of Motion” which Bob Chilcott wrote himself! We were then were graced by the presence of Maestro Rilling, the world renowned conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival, which is occurring simultaneously with the festival we’re involved in. We had the opportunity to ask him questions and he was very gracious and kind towards everyone.
After rehearsal we went back to our dorms and changed into our performance outfits and then headed to dinner. We quickly had a fantastic meal so that we could get to the Pacific Lutheran Church for our sound check. We became quite amped up for the performance and used our energy to prepare for our set of music. We were third in the program of the Sharing Our Songs Concert for that evening, so we watched the Blair Children’s Chorus and the Partners in Praise Girls Choir before it was time for us to take to the stage.
We intended to make a mark on the audience, and many would say that we did just that! We started with a dramatic entrance through the aisles of the church while singing Stephen Hatfield’s Uberlebensgroß, which was a great success. We then performed Hot Tea, Mint, and Olives which intrigued the audience as the Arabic style of music is rarely used in Children’s Choral music. Afterwards, we sang Lift Thine Eyes, Hold On, and In Paradisum, all a cappella pieces which we transitioned between without the use of piano by using solfege methods to find our starting pitches. We closed with Eternity which was very rewarding to sing as the church allowed our sound to resonate beautifully. After our section of the concert we heard the Heartland Youth Choir, and the Spivey Hall Children’s Chorus, both of which sounded fabulous. Overall, the concert was very rewarding and left us with confidence in ourselves and the other choirs, as well as exhausted and excited for the days to come.

Oregon Tour Update: Day 2

After a good nights sleep and a fantastic breakfast provided by the warm and welcoming cafeteria staff, we had our very first rehearsal. It was quite exciting to work with the other groups for the first time. Each choir here brings different strengths to the group as a whole and it is very apparent during our mass rehearsals. After only a few minutes of singing it was clear that is a gift to be working so closely with the festival conductor, Bob Chilcott. His enthusiasm for music and love for the human spirit inspired all of us to work our very hardest, even though were were slightly exhausted. A highlight was working on the piece, "I Dream A World" with Peter Robb, who is not only conducting the piece, but wrote it himself. Its always enjoyable to work on a piece never performed before because you are free to interpret it however you choose until told otherwise. Additionally, Mr. Robb oozed enthusiasm and a love for music, stressing the importance of dynamics through engaging hand motions. After the invigorating rehearsal process ended for the time being, we proceeded to lunch where we had an opportunity to mingle with singers from other choirs, who we found to be very friendly and inviting.
Then, we had the opportunity to see some of the other choirs workshop with Mr. Chilcott. It was amazing to see how the other singers adapted so well to the changes suggested, and what wonderful suggestions Mr. Chilcott made. In reflection post workshop, we discussed how there are many things we can learn from the other choirs here, and how we all bring different strengths to this festival. We then segwayed into a rehearsal of our own, in which we reached an ultimate climax in our song Eternity causing Mr. TK to shed proud tears, a true feat.
After a rehearsal with a smaller group of choirs and dinner, we traveled as a group to the Pacific Lutheran Church which was the venue for the Sharing Our Songs Concert Series. The purpose of this is for each choir to have a chance to perform selections from their individual repertoire for all involved in the festival. On Thursday night, we got to hear the Oregon Festival Choir, the Academy of the Sacred Heart and Mid-Pacific Institute, the Crystal Children's Choir, and the Pacific Youth Choir, all of which were so fantastic and a real joy to see perform. We were simply exhausted at the end of the day, and returned to our dorms to get a much needed goodnight sleep.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oregon Tour Update: Day 1

Guest Writer: BCC Tour Update Committee

We left on our adventure to Oregon from the Logan Airport at 2:00 this afternoon (June 24). After checking in we split up into family groups to head through security. After a few laughs because of the threat we seemed to be at the airport, we hung out in the terminal and had some tasty snacks. We got onto the airplane smoothly to have a rather uneventful flight. We happily sat for about three hours, but shortly after most of us became pretty restless and couldn't help venturing about the "cabin" of the airplane. After six hours in the sky we finally landed in Portland, and hopped on a bus with our wonderful bus driver, Ralph, to go down to Eugene for PICCFest.

Monday, April 28, 2008

BCC Performs at Fenway Park!

Guest Writer: Casey Accardi

On Monday, April 21st, BCC Premier Choir Singers had the privilege of performing the classic School House Rock showstopper “Shot Heard Round the World” in recognition of the Patriots Day holiday. With less than a weeks worth of preparation, singers managed to memorize the well-worded and highly educational piece, which they performed with great enthusiasm and spirit for a sold out stadium of Red Sox fans. After singing, Wally the Green Monster eagerly gave high-fives to each and every singer, much to their delight. Though this is hardly BCC’s first time at Fenway, BCC singer Jaleel Johnson said “Its always so much fun to sing at Fenway. Seeing smiles on the faces of the fans always makes me want to sing my heart out!” As a special treat, the Red Sox Foundation supplied tickets making it possible for Premier to stay and watch the game. “It’s a day to remember!” says singer Zoe Blickenderfer. The Red Sox defeated Texas 8 to 3. The BCC considers themselves to be a lucky charm for the Red Sox, as every game BCC has performed at has been a victory! Premier looks forward to returning to Fenway to perform the Star Spangled Banner on July 7th.

BCC joins the Boston Arts Academy!

Guest Writer: Grace Thompson

On Thursday April 17th and Friday April 18th, the BCC's Premier Choir had the delight of performing with the best of the Boston Arts Academy at their spring concerts. I found the experience to be quite enjoyable! Premier, myself included, was reunited with many of the dancers who joined us in our annual MLK Holiday concert to dance the Dravidian Dithyramb. Once again, Dravidian Dithyramb was performed with BCC on vocals and the dancers gracing the stage with their expressive movements. We then had the chance to perform two new songs with BAA, Nick Page's Niska Banja, a flirty Serbian Gypsy dance with soloists Casey Accardi and Georgia Halliday, as well as Stephen Hatfield's fabulously zany work, Uberlebensgross, both of which incorporated dance, song, and percussion. Both of these pieces were a bounty of fun to sing. In Niska Banja we had the privilege of watching the amazing dancers flit across the stage, but of course we also remained focused on delivering the Serbian language to the best of our abilities. For our finale we gave every last bit of energy to Uberlebensgross, a piece in which some of BCC's very own singers get the oppurtunity to incorporate bamboo sticks, drums of all sorts, rainsticks, bells, chimes, and even body percussion. The event took place at the Back Bay Events Center, which had fantastic acoustics and was a splendid performance space overall. It had a spacious stage with the perfect amount of room for both our chorus and the dancers, which is very important! What really caught my attention while performing were the great lighting effects. The fabulous people at BAA managed to create a spectacle of colors, which came as quite a surprise to the BCC singers, as we did not rehearse with lighting and thus saw it for the first time during performance! I am sure it made our part of the concert look quite impressive from the audience's perspective. It was really a fun time, and since this went so well, we are bound to have more performances with BAA in the future.

BCC Benefit Concert!

Guest Writers: Madison Gordon and Jennifer Selvidge

Dreams Come True: a fitting title for a benefit concert for the Boston Children’s Chorus, because for some kids, BCC is just that. With the help of the Boston Children’s Chorus, singers that cannot afford the tuition are not barred from the chorus and these benefit concerts help to cover the cost. They are very important to us as without these concerts, some of our singers, who want so much to sing, wouldn’t have an opportunity to do so. And as with all concerts, we united as a group to pull our set together. Now it may sound like we, the BCC singers and staff did this concert alone, but this is most certainly not the case. We as a choir would like to thank Blue Cross Blue Shield, our lead corporate sponsor, as well as all of our other corporate sponsors. Additionally, we would like to thank the New England Conservatory for being our lead artistic partner. Last but certainly not least, who could forget the fabulous people at Concord Baptist Church, who lent us their space. And as usual we would like to thank Anthony Trecek-King, Michele Adams, and June Ambush, for their support of us and for pushing us to achieve.
We began the concert with the lovely voices of the training choirs. They sang Alleluia by W.A. Mozart and it was such a pleasure to listen to. We saw the future of the choir in these beautiful young voices, and let me tell you our future is looking bright! We then transitioned from our youngest chorus to the oldest as Premier Choir sang Lift Thine Eyes (Mendelssohn) from the balcony of the auditorium. This was spectacular because the overtones could really flourish from our unique and elevated location.
The next voices to sing were those of the intermediate choirs. They sang Winds by Larysa Kuzmenko followed by Hasivenu (arranged by Doreen Rao), an Israeli folk song. We especially enjoyed the latter song because it demonstrated even further how much diversity we have in BCC, not just in our singers but in our repertoire as well. The finale for the intermediate choirs was the cherished piece When I Close my Eyes by Jim Papoulis with our very own artistic director Anthony Trecek-King accompanying them on the cello. This song, soon to become a BCC classic, was strengthened by the wonderful blend of voices and strings.
The training choirs then sang Lets all Sing Together by Susie Davies conducted by Michele Adams, who always conducts with such energy and enthusiasm. Then all the choirs of BCC joined to sing Dona Nobis Pacem literally translated “Give Us Peace”. It was sung in a round, starting with the Training Choirs, followed by the Intermediate Choirs, and finishing with the Premier Chorus. Concert Choir then had its debut singing Ave Maria op. 19b by Antonin Dvorak, Let the River Run (arranged by Jay Althouse), and Thula S'Thandwa, a traditional Zulu lullaby arranged by Nick Page. Premier as a whole was greatly impressed by the growth apparent in Concert Choir, who has improved immensely since the beginning of the season. The training choirs then made their final solo performance singing Come Follow Me by John Hilton.
Finally it was time for Premier Chorus to take the stage, singing Lacrymosa by W.A. Mozart arranged by Robinson a beautiful and dynamically rich piece. Following Lacrymosa was Niska Banja, a flirtatious Serbian Gypsy dance song with soloists Georgia Halliday on soprano and Casey Accardi on alto. Finally, in honor of our Director of Operations & Programs, Mr. David Howse, Premier sang Can You Hear by Jim Papoulis.
As the evening came towards its finish, Young Men’s Voice Choir, BCC’s only all boys choir, sang Down in the Valley, a Kentucky folk song and Swing down Chariot arranged by Andre Thomas with fantastic solos from Grant Jones and Cautchy Bailey. YMVC really brought the crowd to their feet with this ending spiritual, and were most certainly a favorite of the evening.
Our final song was Siyahamba, from an arrangement by Henry Leck. All of our choirs sang together on it and the result was a masterpiece. Every voice was lifted in song, which is fitting, as the South African standard is a crying out for justice and freedom in South Africa. It is only with support from the people that a cry such as this could be heard. Siyahamba is an outcry from liberty, similarly BCC is effectively an outcry for social change. So this was a fitting end to our stellar concert. The children of BCC are ambassadors, sharing love in the form of song. This evening of song brought us together. Marvelous job to all those who performed, and to our audience members and readers of this blog, I hope you enjoyed our concert and will join us in trying to spread song. (Or maybe just at our next concert ☺)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mahler’s Third Symphony with the Boston Conservatory Orchestra

Guest Writer: Georgia Halliday

Normally, when we perform, the basic idea is pretty simple: We put on our uniforms, get up on stage, do what we’ve been practicing in rehearsal, try to remember that crescendo in measure 35, and hopefully at the end everybody claps.
Throw a hundred other musicians into the process, and things get more complicated.
This is the challenge we were faced with when we performed Mahler’s Third Symphony with the Boston Conservatory Orchestra and Women’s Chorus. Let me first say that if you haven’t listened obsessively to Mahler’s symphonies for at least several weeks, then you have missed out enormously: they are beautiful. The Third is less frequently performed than the others because it requires a very large orchestra and a long attention span (the full symphony lasts over an hour and a half), so this was a rare opportunity for us.
One of the biggest challenges we had to overcome was that of volume. The BCC was singing the part of the Knabenchor, or Bell Choir, in the fifth movement. Being a bell choir meant we spent a considerable amount of time singing “Bimm, bamm, bimm, bamm,” which is mostly humming. Try humming over an orchestra. It’s pretty hard.
With a little maneuvering, we managed to solve that problem by assigning some members of both the BCC and the Women’s Chorus to sing more vowel and less hum (“Shh, don’t tell,” whispered the conductor of the Women’s Chorus).
Working with the orchestra was also unusual for us because we had a different conductor, the Boston Conservatory conductor Bruce Hangen. Not only did he have a whole orchestra to concentrate us, he was far below on the stage while we sang from the mezzanine, which forced us to be more independent and concentrate on our own entrances and cutoffs.
While rehearsing the piece on our own, we spent a while going over how to find each note for each entrance by looking at the parts of the other choir, the soloist, or the orchestra. When we arrived at the first rehearsal with orchestra, everyone was impressed when we told them, “Sure, we can find our note from that last A in the fourth movement. We just go down a major third and then jump three octaves.”

Sanders Theatre at Harvard is a beautiful building to perform in: the tall hall makes for great acoustics and my friend Cyrus spent several minutes waxing poetic about the architecture. It is always a wonderful experience to be a part of an ensemble that big, feeling the power of the music filling the room. You could close your eyes and imagine that there really were angels singing.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Joint Concert and Hosting Experience with Carmina from the Czech Republic!

Guest Writer: Nina Goodman, Premier Choir

With this being my second year in BCC, I am still surprised by all the great things that we are able to do. When my mother and I arrived at the airport to pick up the six Czech choristers from the Czech choir, I had assumed that it would be like when the choir from Chicago had stayed with my family the past year. But, to my astonishment, it was an entirely different cultural experience. While at the airport every one was trying to imagine what the visiting singers would be like… would they be as excited about meeting us as we were to meet them? The answer to that was yes.

With rehearsals every day and all sorts of other tourist-y experiences planned for the Czechs, they got just enough sleep to get through to the next activity. We managed to have a great deal of fun and perform wonderfully under the hectic circumstances. It seemed that the best time that we were able to have together was at the potluck dinner the Mia Ferguson and Sherylynn Sealy (Premier Choir Vice President and President) put together. With music, food and a small craft to break the ice, we all got along great. As we made traditional paper hand turkeys, Sherylynn shared some information about thanksgiving and although the language was somewhat difficult, we got to share an aspect of our culture with the visitors.

During the second to last night of the Czechs visit, they showered us with gifts from their homeland, which included embroidery, chocolates, chocolates, and more chocolates. We gave them Boston red sox jackets so that they could say that they were official Bostonians.

The next night was the concert that was filled with all sorts of fun suprises. Carmina wowed us with their expressiveness and enthusiasm on stage, however the highlight was when the whipped off their regular performance outfits and performed some classic Czech folk songs in traditional Czech clothing. The song that I believe we had the most compliments on was “Freedom Trilogy”. All in all I think that it was a great concert and a fabulous experience through out the whole thing.