Monday, April 28, 2008
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.
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.
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 ☺)