Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top 10 of Fall 2010! Part One

As we head into Winter and begin to prepare for MLK Day 2011, its time to reflect on the Fall of our 8th performance season at BCC! There has been no shortage of excitement for BCC this Fall! This is the first of a two-part series on the Top 10 of Fall 2010!(in no particular order)

1. Performance at the Deval Patrick Rally

On October 16th a small group of BCC singers had the incredible opportunity to perform the National Anthem at the Democratic Rally for Deval Patrick, at which Barack Obama spoke. Following the Anthem, the BCC singers got to stay at the rally and mingle with James Taylor and Barney Frank among others, and following the rally, some singers shook hands with Barack Obama. What a great day for BCC!

2. Hubie Jones awarded the Purpose Prize
Hubie Jones, our fabulous founder, is a winner of this year's Purpose Prize for his work in founding BCC. The Purpose Prize is a title awarded to social entrepreneurs over 60 who, in their encore careers, are using their experience and passion to make an extraordinary impact on society’s biggest challenges. Way to go Hubie! Read more about it at boston.com.
3. Villa Victoria performance at Fenway Alliance Event

This year the Villa Victoria Traning Choir continued the wonderful tradition of performing at the Fenway Alliance's Opening Our Doors Day, an event that brings together various arts organizations in the Fenway Area for a shared celebration of creativity. This was the first performance for John Reynolds in his new role as Conductor of the Villa Victoria Training Choir -- kudos to John!

4. Our First Composer-In-Residence -- Bill Banfield

This year, for the first time ever, BCC has an official Composer-In-Residence! Bill Banfield, a exceptional author, recording artist, and composer is joining us this year to create various pieces of music to compliment our repertoire. Most recently, Bill composed a pair of pieces for us, titled "Love Is" and Love Says". Watch the video below to see Bill explain the inspiration behind the piece.

5. BCC Participation in the Samaritans 5k

On October 2nd, PC members got up bright and early to sing, and run at the Samaritans' Annual 5k! Over a dozen BCC members and staff participated in the race, and raised nearly $1000 for Samaritans! Click here for more photos from the event.

Stay tuned for the rest of the Top 10!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Guest Blog Post - Concert Choir Update!

Maddie Mechem, a Concert Choir member, describes the her current experience in Concert Choir...

Editor's Note: Concert Choir is performing Mahler's 8th Symphony with the Nashua Symphony this weekend! Click here for more information.

Lots of Music by Maddie Mechem, 11/8/10

Well, these last two rehearsals were certainly busy for those of us in Concert Choir. In the past two weeks, we have had professionals from the Boston Children’s Theater, and the Executive Director of the Nashua Orchestra, Eric Valliere, visit our rehearsals to see what we’re doing at BCC and help us prepare for upcoming performances. The amount of music we have to learn is reaching a crescendo. You could say that German has become kind of a second language, and the holidays have come early. The major piece for this half of the season is Gustav Mahler’s 8th symphony, which is over 200 pages long! Of those 200 pages, we have to sing more than sixty. This piece is one of many pieces currently residing in our black BCC binders. After a quick count, the most current Concert Choir music tally is seven holiday songs, two German and/or Latin songs, and two so far uncategorized songs. That is eleven pieces of music, nine of which will be performed sometime in the next three months. That is a lot to learn in not much time! On the bright side, we will never run out of things to keep us occupied, AND we get fancy new shirts to wear for performances this year, along with the usual white BCC oxfords.

More Mahler by Maddie Mechem, 11/15/10

The Mahler madness is reaching its peak, as the first concert is less than a week away. Sunday was our first rehearsal, and our last rehearsal is on Friday. Then, on Saturday, it’s off to Lexington for the first of two concerts. We have some work to do between now and then. We were missing cues and whole sections of the song, and we have the equivalent of about five hours to get this right. But after all of this is over, we get to take a break and begin to prepare for the holiday concert. As mentioned in a previous post, we have seven songs to perform, four of which we have been assigned for homework (CC: don’t forget! This is highly important!). Because Mahler requires a ton of time and effort to learn/perform, delaying preparation for the holiday concert is kind of a given. Even with all the stress of looking for cues and singing over all the other people, it will be fun to perform, especially with the awesome, all-black uniform, as well as the fact that we are going to be part of a huge group of people, all of whom have worked hard to make this work. As to what happens and how well it works, that must wait for another post.

Check back soon for another update from Maddie!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goes Virtual at BCC Central

After two weeks of beginnings, its safe to say that the 2010-2011 BCC season is underway. Every season at BCC brings new opportunities, and this year is no different! First of all, this year marks the first year for BCC's newest choir, Choral Union, which brings together talented high-school aged singers to learn the fundamentals of music theory. Irene Idicheria, who directed Villa Victoria Training Choir and West End House training choir last season, takes on Choral Union this year. CU rehearsals are off to a great start. Additionally, John Reynolds who served as a Teaching Fellow last season, is directing Neighborhood choirs this season!

One change that directly impacts singers at who rehearse at BCC Central is that this year, instead of signing in on paper singers sign in on one of two laptops set up in the BCC Central lobby.
Pretty cool, right?! So much paper and time saved!

Overall, this season is off to a great start. Stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tour 2010: Day 6

This morning we enjoyed another great breakfast at the Georgetown dining hall and climbed aboard our Dattco bus to pick up our tour guide for the morning, Artie. Artie brought us to the heart of our Nation's history by giving us the inside scoop on all of the major landmarks that we toured. One especially moving moment was when we gathered at the very spot that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech on the Lincoln Memorial. Feeling such a strong personal collection to the location helped us to give an emotionally charged performance of U2's "MLK" for an attentive audience on the steps. We also toured the capitol building, and with the help of a great tour guide, were able to check out all the Massachusetts specific statues in the building. See video below!

After lunch, we were given some free time to check out DC museums. Some singers visited the Air and Space museum, others the Natural History museum, and others the American History museum. Everyone enjoyed being able to enter such interesting and engaging museums free of charge.

We then headed over to the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church to perform with the Children's Chorus of Washington. Our performance tonight was the last one of this tour, and the last performance for this year's graduating seniors. Needless to say, we left nothing behind. Every song was performed with more energy and inspiration than ever. The seniors chose "Up To the Mountain" as their last song, and as the tears started to roll down everyone's faces, it became apparent to all just how powerful and important BCC is in the lives of its singers.

Back at the dorms, we celebrated our successful tour and our seniors by having a late room check, giving us lots of time to bond with each other. Seniors were also hard at work making superlatives, a tradition we uphold every year in which each person receives a loving "most likely to..", based on their actions on tour. After some late night Dominoes, it is time to rest up for our last day of tour.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tour 2010: Day 5

This morning we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in the Georgetown Dining Hall, and then headed over to Saint John's Church in DC to perform in the Sunday morning service. Saint John's serves as the Presidential Church, every president since James Madison has attended at least one church service there. Singers enjoyed checking out the presidential pew (number 54) and taking pictures seated in the pew. We performed a variety of religious and patriotic music, and especially enjoyed collaborating with the Saint John's Summer Choir, Organist, Timpani, and Piccolo player on "Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Following our performance and lunch, we headed over to the Kennedy Center, where we spent the afternoon relaxing and rehearsing. It was almost 100 degrees in Washington DC today, so we were glad to be able to stay inside and avoid the heat. At 6pm became our big Kennedy Center debut! We performed on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center for a very large audience, and our performance streamed live on the internet and is now available in the Kennedy Center's web archive. Check it out here.

After performing and dinner, we gathered in the grass outside of the Kennedy Center and watched the 4th of July fireworks. It has been such a privilege to be in our nation's capital for the Fourth of July. Nowhere does patriotic better than Washington DC! Looking forward to collaborating with the Children's Chorus of Washington tomorrow.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tour 2010: Day 4

This morning we said farewell to Saint Joseph's University and embarked on mission: three cities, one day. After a three hour drive, we found ourselves out of Philadelphia and into Frederick, Maryland, home of our accompanist, Emily Howe. We arrived at All Saints Episcopal Church, and were greeted by singers from the Chamber Choir of the Frederick Children's Chorus, who provided us with wonderful walking tours of the city and ample shopping-time in downtown Frederick.

We rehearsed briefly, and then took to the stage for our concert which was well attended and received by the local Frederick community. After the concert, the Frederick Children's Chorus hosted a wonderful dinner, and performed two pieces for us, "The Storm Is Passing Over" (which some BCC members joined them for) and a uplifting song that they commissioned for their 20th anniversary. We then taught them a favorite song of ours, "We Are Together" which we all sang together. It was wonderful to meet them and we are so grateful that they hosted us so kindly.

Following dinner, we again boarded the bus, and have since arrived and checked in a Georgetown University (making Washington D.C. our third location of the day!). The dorms are lovely and we are very much enjoying our stay thus far. Looking forward to the Campus Tour on Monday. We are headed to bed early as we have a big performance tomorrow -- performing at St. John's Church (Obama's Church) in the morning, and then performing at the Kennedy Center in the evening. Can't wait!

Tour 2010: Day 3

On Friday, we had a great breakfast and then gathered outside our dorm for a Campus Tour of Saint Joseph's University. We were escorted into the SJU Chapel for a presentation about the University and then then broke up into small groups for a campus tour. Our tour guides informed us that SJU's campus recently gained a lot of land and increased in size by 58%, allowing them to add a new music center. Pretty cool! After our tour, we boarded the bus and headed over to the NBC Philadelphia station, where we rehearsed briefly and then entered the studio to tape a performance of "God Bless America". The taping went wonderfully and our performance played later that day on NBC Channel 10.

After performing, we headed back to Saint Joseph's for lunch and a little bit of rehearsing for our evening performance with the Wanamaker Organ. Following rehearsal, we traveled over to the African American Museum in Philadelphia for an African Dance Workshop. We got along wonderfully with our instructor, and believe it or not, weren't even half bad at some of the dancing! Although we got sweatier than anticipated, everyone really enjoyed themselves. Perhaps we'll perform our new moves at a concert soon! (Don't hold your breath for it..)

Following our workshop and tour of the museum, we arrived at Macy's Philadelphia, home of the Wanamaker Organ. The Organ is HUGE -- it has 28,500 pipes! We rehearsed with the fabulous organist, Mr. Conte, and then gave a performance for the shoppers of Macy's, many of which stopped shopping to listen to us sing. It was an awesome experience to sing with such a well-known and massive organ.

We then headed over to Buca de Beppo, a favorite Philly restaurant of ours that we visited when we came here for ACDA East. Upon arriving back at the dorms, we packed up and prepared to give a fond farewell to Saint Joseph's University, as Saturday brings us a trip to Georgetown.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tour 2010: Day 2

Today we arose bright and early and had a nice and nutritious breakfast at the Saint Joseph's University dining hall. After gathering our belongings, we boarded our beloved Dattco bus and headed over to Independence Hall where we performed patriotic music for a special Naturalization Ceremony, during which 26 people representing 19 different countries were granted U.S. Citizenship. Above we are pictured with Ale Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We really enjoyed meeting him!

Following our performance, we headed over to Independence Hall for a very informative tour and then broke for lunch, during which small groups of singers got a taste of local Philadelphian cuisine. After lunch we made a liberty bell visit, and then we met up with our fabulous tour guide, Ryan, from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Ryan led us on a walking tour around Philly, showing us various murals, and explaining the background and significance of the murals and the Mural Arts Program, an organization that unites artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives. We stopped to sing in front of a mural, which Ryan recorded for a Mural Arts Program initiative and said he would put on the internet soon. It'll be blogged when it's up! Pictured below is the mural we sang "We Are Together" in front of.

After our tour, we walked to the City Tavern, a restaurant that serves authentic 18th century cuisine in a history filled building Dining in a favorite hot-spot of John Adams and friends made us feel apart of history. Following dinner, we headed over to the Penn's Landing area, where we bonded on the boardwalk for some time before heading back to the dorms for a good nights sleep.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tour 2010: Day 1

Tour 2010 is officially underway! This morning we made a smooth departure from BCC Central around 10am, and were on our way to Philadelphia. We quickly discovered that our bus has Wi-Fi which was great news as the seven hour bus ride got a little bit boring after a while. Needless to say, we were very glad to arrive at St. Joseph's University around 6:00 pm, and settled into our dorm rooms before having a great BBQ dinner in the SJU Student Center. After dinner we brushed up on the music we'll be singing tomorrow at Independence Hall for a Naturalization Ceremony -- rumor has it multiple US Secretaries will be there! We can't wait to welcome immigrants into the US with song. Check the twitter to review the updates from today, and to get frequent updates in the upcoming days! http://www.twitter.com/bcchorus

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Social Media Tips: BCC Style!

BCC is embarking on a tour of the East Coast tomorrow! Want to know what we're up to all the time? Well you CAN! See below for all sorts of info on experiencing our tour with us.

Facebook: BCC has a facebook fanpage called "Boston Children's Chorus". To find it, log in to facebook and search Boston Children's Chorus in the search box. The BCC fanpage's icon is the BCC Logo with a black background. Here's the direct link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boston-Childrens-Chorus/122489444431397?ref=ts

Twitter: Twitter is a great resource for frequent updates! The BCC twitter is public and can be viewed by anyone online at http://www.twitter.com/bcchorus. To get SMS updates (recommended), a twitter account is needed. It's really easy to create!

To create a twitter account and get BCC updates texted to your phone:
1. Send a text message to the phone number 40404 with the word START
2. Twitter will send you a reply and ask you to reply with the word SIGNUP to create a new account. Send SIGNUP
3. Next twitter will ask you to pick a username. It should be less than 15 characters. Reply with the username you want.
4. You will get a confirmation (or Twitter will ask you to pick a different name if that one is already in use) and will be asked to reply with a password.
5. Your Twitter account has been created!
6. Then, text FOLLOW bcchorus to 40404 and you will start receiving BCC updates via text message!

If you already have a twitter account, but have not set up Mobile Twitter:
1. Send a text message to the phone number 40404 with the word START
2. Twitter will send you a reply and ask you to reply with your username.
3. Then, when prompted, reply with your password.
4. Twitter will ask you to send OK if you want to use Twitter on your phone. Send OK!
5. Then, text FOLLOW bcchorus to 40404, and you will start receiving BCC tweets on your phone.

If you have twitter and have already set up Mobile Twitter:
1. Text FOLLOW bcchorus to 40404, and you will start receiving BCC updates via text message!

Blog: As always, the BCC blog will be updated nightly at http://www.bostonchildrenschorus.blogspot.com

Andre Rieu Concert!

On June 23rd, BCC singers performed at Agganis Arena with the Andre Rieu Tour. Check out the video below!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jim Papoulis visits Concert Choir!

On April 7th, Jim Papoulis, Director of The Young People's Chorus of New York City and Foundation for Small Voices visited Concert Choir rehearsal. Molly and Elizabeth McGrath, Concert Choir members reflected on the experience...

"Concert Choir had the opportunity to work with Jim Papoulis last Wednesday! We wrote a song with him during our rehearsal last week. It is amazing how Mr. Papoulis can pull music out of thin air and play it on the piano. Kids in the choir sang sounds softly as he played and wrote the song with us. He asked “What is music?” A simple question. Some of the choir responded with “emotions fitted to sound”, and that’s what he worked into the song with us. He asked us to share our favorite things about music and our negatives against it, and how we feel. When it was time to focus on lyrics, he asked us for words that described those feelings. It was really cool to see how different and alike we all are. We had an awesome time writing a song with friends and with a Mr. Papoulis. We shared our creative ability through feelings and let a small piece of us fuel the music; it all fit together in perfect harmony. It was really cool to have a song at the end of the day that reflects what we think and who we are." - Molly and Elizabeth McGrath

Thursday, March 25, 2010

BCC featured on Channel 7!

Last night, singers from Premier Choir and Young Men's Ensemble performed for Deval Patrick at the dedication of the Pat Patrick Collection at the Berklee College of Music Performance Center.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Bach!

March 21st marked Johann Sebastian Bach's 325th birthday! Can you believe it?! On March 20th, Emmanuel Music planned a day full of festivities celebrating Bach's birthday, the last of which featured Concert Choir in Bach Cantata BWV 42. Concert Choir members enjoyed preparing the piece and working with John Harbison and everyone at Emmanuel Music to make it their very best in honor of Bach's birthday.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Songs My Mother Taught Me Video

On Sunday, February 27, 2010 BCC's Training and Intermediate Choirs worked with expert educator Dr. Judy Bowers from Florida State University. The choirs as well as over 40 local music teachers worked with Dr. Bowers in a day of professional development. The day culminated with a full audience enjoying a concert conducted by Ms. Idicheria, Mrs. Adams, and Dr. Bowers. Below is a video of singers sharing the songs their mother's taught them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy "Madame White Snake" Day!

In the City of Boston, today is officially "Madame White Snake" Day.. how cool is that?! The timing is fitting as "Madame White Snake" the Opera in which Premier Choir is performing with through Opera Boston, is opening THIS weekend! PC has been enjoying every second of participating in "Madame White Snake" and is very eager to perform in the shows. Click here for an Boston Globe article about the production, and be sure to watch the video below for insight on the creative process behind the Opera.

Madame White Snake will be performed at the Cutler Majestic Theater on Friday, February 26th at 7:30 pm, Sunday, February 28th at 3:00 pm, and Tuesday, February 2nd at 7:30 pm. For more information, visit www.operaboston.org.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ACDA Performance!

On February 12th, Premier Choir headed to Philadelphia to perform at the American Choral Director's Association regional conference. Premier performed exceptionally well and felt wonderful about the outcome. Mr. Howse said that, "for us, it was a red letter day - a day that we were able to showcase an extraordinarily talented group of diverse kids singing at a very high level of excellence. BCC has the opportunity to play a very important role in shaping opinions (locally, regionally, and nationally) of what a group of young, diverse singers can achieve – particularly with such a richly diverse repertoire."

Click here for a youtube playlist of our ACDA performance!

Happy Valentines Day!

Singers decided to show their appreciation and love for the staff in a... special way this Valentines Day. Nothing says "you're the best!" like a decorated car to show off around town! Needless to say, Mr. Howse, Mr. Tk, and Mrs. Rogers loved their Valentines surprise, check it out!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Follow BCC on Twitter! www.twitter.com/bcchorus

Are you following BCC on twitter?! You should be! The BCC twitter is frequently updated with live updates telling you what's up at BCC. Check it out! www.twitter.com/bcchorus This weekend is a great weekend to start following us... go for it!

PC to travel to Philadelphia for ACDA Regional Conference Feb 12 and 13!

Tomorrow, Premier Choir will travel to perform at the American Choral Director's Association Eastern Division conference in Philadelphia. It is a great honor to be selected to perform at this conference and Premier Choir is looking forward to performing a powerful set.

The BCC twitter will be updated throughout the weekend with updates on our adventures... follow us at www.twitter.com/bcchorus

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Symphonic Relief For Haiti

Last Sunday, PC and YME singers gathered at Jordan Hall to be a part of "Symphonic Relief for Haiti", a concert to benefit Partners In Health's work in Haiti. Singers had been looking for an opportunity to help out with Haiti relief, and this concert was an excellent opportunity to do so. BCC enjoyed collaborating with the Longwood Symphony Orchestra and Jean Bernanrd Cerin, an NEC masters candidate, to perform "Sole Oh", a traditional Haitian song.

Symphonic Relief will air at 10pm on channel 38WBZ in Boston on Sunday February 7th. Be sure to tune in!

Click here to check out photographer Helen Makadia's photos from the event.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

BCC Mentioned on BroadwayWorld.com!

Rehearsals are underway for Madame White Snake, a world-premiere Opera that Premier Choir will perform in February 26 through March 2nd. So far rehearsals have been going well -- singers are learning how to act on stage and are greatly enjoying working with Opera Boston's artistic staff. Read all about it here!

Monday, February 1, 2010

David Howse receives 3rd Annual Social Innovation Forum Achievement Award!

On January 20th, David Howse, BCC's Executive Director, won the 3rd Annual Social Innovation Forum Achievement Award for his work since 2004 with the Boston Children's Chorus. To learn more about the Social Innovation Forum and Howse's award, click here.

Congratulations Mr. Howse!

Premier Choir member Kasey Fahy performs at the State House!

On Thursday January 21st, Kasey Fahy, a Senior in Premier Choir, had the honor of singing the National Anthem for the Governor's State of the State Address. Check it out below!

Monday, January 25, 2010

BCC's Signature Concert: MLK 2010 - "From A Child's Mind"

Thanks to all of our video-savvy fans, you can pretty much relive this years MLK concert on youtube! Watch 'em in order for the real affect!

Concert Choir performance at Temple Israel MLK Shabbat Service!

On January 15th, Concert Choir singers had the privilege of performing at Temple Israel's Annual MLK Shabbat Service. This is the third year that BCC has had the opportunity to sing at Temple Israel for this service, and it is always a wonderful experience for the singers to participate in the service beyond singing. This year's guest speaker was Jackie Jenkins-Scott, president of Wheelock college. While speaking about MLK's work and the importance of education, she said that she believes if MLK were alive today, he would surely look to youth as teachers and inspiration. How fitting!

Students from Beacon Academy and Temple Israel's Monday Night School gave powerful speeches, CC sang a song combined with TI's youth chorus and as always the Temple Israel staff was very kind and lots of fun to work with.

Monday, January 4, 2010

From the Top MLK jr Special!

Premier Choir and Young Men's Ensemble spent the weekend of January 2nd and 3rd recording a Martin Luther King Jr Radio Special with From the Top, a great start to the new year! Singers enjoyed getting back together after an almost two week winter break, and meeting the other performers on the show (the BYSO String Quartet and Chaz Salazar, a flutist from Phoenix, Arizona). For the last song of the show, BCC collaborated with the BYSO string players to perform Kirk Franklin's "Lean On Me", a song that speaks to the power of friendship. Check out the journey from rehearsal to performance below!

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's 2010!

A popular topic on twitter this week has been #10yearsago. In light of the new year, millions of twitter users reflected upon who they were, where they were up to, and what their interests were 10 years ago. With BCC celebrating its 7th birthday this year, it's amazing to think that 10 years ago, BCC didn't even exist and now we're over 400 strong and have traveled the world and made a name for ourselves as a musically excellent and socially impactful organization. Pretty cool! This year's annual report is available exclusively online and is a great look into how far we've come. 

We really are starting off 2010 with a bang -- these next two months will be BCC's busiest to date. Premier and Young Men's will spend the first weekend of 2010 with From the Top, taping a Martin Luther King jr. special at Bethel AME that's scheduled to air on WBUR 87.9 FM on January 9th at 11am, January 10th at 6pm, and at times to be announced on January 18th and MLK jr day. BCC will also be celebrating MLK at Temple Israel, Concord Carlisle Middle School, YES! Boston, and with our signature Annual Martin Luther King Jr. "From A Child's Mind" at Jordan Hall on the 19th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. If you instead find yourself at home on the 19th, tune in to Channel 5 for a MLK special, featuring BCC. 

Only a few weeks after MLK day, Premier Choir heads off to Philadelphia to perform at American Choral Director's Association regional conference, a huge honor. Meanwhile, Premier will also be rehearsing to perform in the World Premiere of "Madame White Snake", a modern opera, with Opera Boston. Performing in the Opera will require singers to commit to a professional's rehearsal schedule for the month of February which will be hard work, but singers are very much looking forward to being apart of a fully-staged production. 

With the first two month's looking like that, it's safe to say this year is going to be a big one! Happy 2010 to all!