Monday, February 23, 2009

Anthony Trecek-King and the Boston Children's Chorus featured on NECN's State of Education!

PC and YME Performs at Boston Inaugural Ball!

Less that 24 hours after the MLK Concert, PC and YME's singers were gladly reunited at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to perform at the Partnership's Inaugural Ball titled "A New Birth of Freedom". Surprisingly enough, we were all very excited to see each other again... one might think that we'd be tired of seeing each other after a whole weekend of being together, but in fact it was quite the contrary, we had all missed each other very much!

Upon arrival at BCEC, we gathered in a rehearsal room where we were served a wonderful light dinner, and prepared to perform. Everyone was still pretty hyped-up from the previous day's concert and so we ended up giving a very energized performance! It felt great to perform at something affiliated with President Obama's inauguration, and we were honored to sing for the wonderful people at the Partnership's event.

Martin Luther King jr. Concert, 2009!

January 19th, 2008: MLK jr. day had finally arrived! Stoked for the performance, singers arrived for an 11:00 call with plenty of energy. The choirs were to present two concerts throughout the day: the 2:00pm concert (a final rehearsal for the evening performance with a full audience) and the 7:00pm concert (the nationally televised, big deal one!). Everyone was really excited, and after a final rehearsal on stage and lunch, we took a deep breath and performed the first concert! It went really well. Timing was perfect, all the songs were going to fit just fine in the evening concert, and the backstage movement worked perfectly.

Everyone was relieved, and settled down in Brown Hall for a little bit of quiet time to work on homework. Although the performance was everyone’s primary concern that weekend, many singers were also preparing for midterms in school, which added another level of stress. BCC singers then gathered in another smaller hall for a pre-concert discussion. Presidents Mia Ferguson and Amy Olson presented the questions, “What do you want audience members to get out of the concert? And, what are you going to do on stage to help the audience get what you said earlier out of the concert?” This was a very helpful activity for BCC as it helped to center everyone’s thoughts. After dinner, BCC’s presidents led the choir in a meditation exercise and a final pump-up before we headed into the final stages before the concert. Finally, it was time to perform!

The concert itself was a whirlwind experience. The hour seemed to go by in a minute and the energy that could be felt on stage was incredible. Each song transition went flawlessly and the audience was wonderfully invested in the performance. The general feeling of BCC singers at the concert end was of pride. The hard work that everyone had put in over the past few days and months had finally paid off, and we as singers could then celebrate a job well done.

MLK Weekend: Day Two!

The Singers had a relatively late call time, 1:30, on Sunday the 18th, making it possible for them to sleep in and then fill up on nutritious meals to allow them enough energy to make it through the day. Boston was hit with a bit of a snowstorm Sunday morning, which made it a little difficult to get to New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall where the rehearsal was held, but everyone worked it out. Around 2:00 we began rehearsing. This rehearsal was important because it was our first time working with the instrumentalists from Project Step, a Boston based non-profit organization committed to giving kids who wouldn’t have the opportunity otherwise to learn how to play instruments. We also got to me this years batch of dancers from the Boston Arts Academy who performed with the young men of YPC and BCC on the song “Zikr.” After getting acquainted with them and practicing the combined set, we headed into Jordan Hall for a TV run through. This was our first time with all of BCC and YPC on stage, so it was a little stressful fitting 100+ singers on to the risers. However, it was handled efficiently and everyone found a place eventually. Although rehearsal went a little bit overtime, parents understood, as our MLK concert was only 24 hours away!

MLK Weekend: Day One!

On Saturday January 17th, Premier Choir and Young Men’s Ensemble singers gathered at Tremont Temple at 10:00 am to start off the core of MLK weekend. Being at Tremont Temple was a trip down memory lane as BCC used to rehearse there before having BCC central to call home. Singers were excited to rehearse and got off to a great start by working on their solo set before YPC arrived. Around 12:30, the Young People’s Choir of New York City arrived, and all the singers broke for lunch. This gave everyone an opportunity to get to know each other and revisit with old friends (YPC participated in the MLK program in 2007). This was not quite the same as MLK ’07 though, because this year our MLK concert was nationally televised! The pressure was on, so after lunch and a few getting to know you games, BCC and YPC got right to work.

After two long (but fun!) hours of rehearsing, the choir stopped again, this time to engage in the MLK panel discussion. This was an hour long discussion, co facilitated by Isabelle Darling and Casey Accardi, that was intended to remind singers of the reason behind the concert: to celebrate and promote the legacy of Martin Luther King jr. Singers from BCC and YPC represented their choirs as the facilitators asked questions pertaining to their personal involvement in MLK’s legacy. At the end of the discussion, each singer had the opportunity to fill out a letter that would be sent to him or her 6 months later, stating their commitment for the year ahead to work toward positive social change in their communities. All in all, the panel ran smoothly and helped to inspire and remind the singers of the real reason behind the concert. After the panel, the groups had another rehearsal before breaking for the day.

At 6:30 rehearsal finished and each YPC singer was sent home with a BCC host family for an evening of fun and relaxation. Some singers headed home to get to know each other and rest up for the days ahead, while others went out for dinner or attended local performances. Fun was had by all!

Performances Leading up to MLK weekend!

Thursday January 15th was a big day for the Boston Children’s Chorus. Really any Thursday is a big day for BCC because Premier Choir, Lyric Choir, and West End House rehearse, but this was an extra-big day. It was Premier/Young Men’s final rehearsal before the start of MLK weekend and West End House has a performance at Concord Carlisle High School’s MLK program. Anticipation and excitement rose at BCC central as the elite choirs put final touches on their set, while WEH wow-ed the audience at CCHS. MLK weekend was off to a good start!

Friday January 16th was yet another big day. The staff was busy making sure everything was going to run smoothly for MLK weekend, and BCC’s Concert Choir had the opportunity to perform at Temple Israel’s MLK jr. Shabbat Service. This was not just the regular go onstage, sing a few songs, file off, and go home performance, but instead was a complete cultural experience. Not only were BCC’s singers able to perform, but they also got to interact with members of Temple Israel’s congregation and participate in the service fully.

Singers arrived on time for a sound check and were greeted warmly by the worship team and children’s choir at Temple Israel. This was not only a performance, but also a collaboration; BCC and Temple Israel’s choruses rehearsed quickly so they could the final number, “Give Us Hope” together. Singers enjoyed the service. A highlight was seeing Young Men’s Ensemble member, Jaleel Johnson, participate with his class from Beacon Academy in explaining the ways Martin Luther King Jr. has impacted them.

Finally it was time for CC to perform. They sang some old favorites and a few new tunes as well. A favorite of BCC singers in the audience was, “Circles of Motion” which Premier Choir members sang at PICCfest under the direction of Bob Chilcott in summer ’08. Temple Israel’s choir then joined CC; the audience loved their combined rendition of “Give Us Hope” and found it to be fitting for the spirit of the weekend. Singers left the concert feeling good, and the staff headed home to rest-up for the core of MLK weekend.