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 UberlebensgroƟ, 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.