LA Children's Chorus to Perform with Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Phil & More During 2014-15 Season
Los Angeles Children's Chorus (LACC), led by highly regarded Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson and acclaimed for its agile bel canto sound that has made it one of the nation's most in-demand children's choirs, announces its 2014-15 season, entitled "Celebrating American Song...California and Beyond." It spotlights the music of American composers, including several with strong California ties, among them John Adams, Philip Glass, Kirk Meechem, Terry Riley, David Montoya, Nick Strimple, Mark Grey, Wayne Brisbee, Abbie Betinis, David Brunner, Charles Ives, Brian Holmes and David Conte. The chorus also appears in a series of high profile engagements, continuing to build upon its longtime partnerships with such leading music organizations as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Jacaranda and Pasadena Symphony. Further expanding its reach, LACC makes its debut at Stanford University's recently opened Bing Concert Hall, considered one of Northern California's most outstanding new venues, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the beloved musical Fiddler on the Roof with Los Angeles's historic Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and hosts Windsbacher Knabenchor, Germany's famed boys choir. LACC, which serves children ages 6 to 18 from 50 Southland communities, is lauded as "one of the world's foremost children's choirs" (Pasadena Star News), and described as "hauntingly beautiful" (Los Angeles Times), "astonishingly polished" (Performances Magazine), "extraordinary in its abilities" (Culture Spot LA), and "one heck of a talented group of kids" (LA Weekly).
Among numerous season highlights, LACC offers its signature Winter Concert (December 7 and 14, 2014) and Spring Concert (May 3 and 10, 2015) at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, featuring works by eminent American composers from Boston's William Billings, who lived and composed during the nation's infancy from 1746 to 1800 and is considered America's first choral conductor, to Abbie Betinis, a Minnesota-based 2009 McKnight Fellow whose music has been hailed by The New York Times as "inventive" and "richly melodic." The programs' a cappella pieces and works with minimal accompaniment provide a special opportunity to hear the choir's striking sound in its purest form.
With the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the chorus is featured at the Hollywood Bowl this summer in "John Williams: Maestro of the Movies," conducted by five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams (August 29 and 30, 2014). In the second half of the season, LACC collaborates with the orchestra and guest conductor Susanna Mälkki on the West Coast premiere of a new multi-media production of Alice in Wonderland by Unsuk Chin with libretto by David Henry Hwang, crafted from Lewis Carroll's beloved tale, and multi-media component by innovative artist Netia Jones at Walt Disney Concert Hall (February 27, 2015).
LACC also hosts a choral exchange and concert with the illustrious German boys choir Windsbacher Knabenchor, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church (October 26, 2014). It also joins forces with the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Los Angeles's oldest temple, to celebrate the 50th anniversary the hit musical Fiddler on the Roof (November 16, 2014), and appears with the renowned Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon, and Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra in back-to-back historically informed performances of Bach's seminal St. Matthew Passion at Walt Disney Concert Hall (January 31 and February 1, 2015). With Jacaranda, the celebrated music series presented at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, LACC is featured on its "Winter Dreams" program, singing Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols (December 6, 2014). It also rings in the season as part of the Pasadena Symphony's popular "Holiday Candlelight" concert led by conductor Grant Cooper at Pasadena's All Saints Church (December 13, 2014). Continuing to expand its reach, LACC presents the world premiere of a commission by Mark Gray, with libretto by Niloufar Talebi, at its highly anticipated debut at Stanford University's Bing Concert Hall (April 19, 2015). It is also involved in a number of significant community partnerships with Verdugo Young Musicians Association, Kidspace Children's Museum and ArtNight Pasadena, among others.
"These incredible artistic collaborations in conjunction with LACC's own concert series provide a remarkable opportunity for our young singers to perform an extremely broad range of repertoire with some of the world's leading conductors," says Tomlinson, currently in her 22nd season with the organization. "These appearances go hand-in-hand with LACC's comprehensive music education program that encourages a deeper appreciation of the choral art and the shared experience of creating fine choral music."
The chorus's level of excellence is particularly notable because, unlike adult choirs, each fall marks a new beginning - literally - for LACC as its members advance through LACC's training ensembles to its premier Concert Choir, elite Chamber Singers and innovative Young Men's Ensemble.
Los Angeles Children's Chorus is recognized throughout the country for its exceptional artistic quality and technical ability. Founded in 1986 and led by Tomlinson since 1995, LACC serves more than 400 children through six choirs and a First Experiences in Singing program. LACC, recipient of Chorus America's 2014 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the nation's highest choral honor, has toured North and South America, Africa, China, Australia and Europe. It appears on the Los Angeles Master Chorale's critically acclaimed Decca recording A Good Understanding, and Plácido Domingo's Deutsche Grammophon recording Amore Infinito ("Infinite Love"). The subject of a trilogy of documentaries by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, LACC is featured in the Academy Award-nominated Sing!, about a year in the life of the choir; Sing Opera!, documenting the production of the LACC-commissioned family opera Keepers of the Night; and Sing China!, chronicling its groundbreaking tour to China just prior to the Beijing Olympics. LACC has performed with John Mayer on NBC's "The Tonight Show" and has also been featured on BBC Radio, and Public Radio International's nationally syndicated show "From the Top," among other credits.
This summer, LACC returns to the Hollywood Bowl for two performances of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's "John Williams: Maestro of the Movies," to sing the poignant song "Dry Your Tears, Afrika," composed and conducted by five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams, on Friday and Saturday, August 29 and 30, 2014, 8 pm. The lyrics for the song, composed for Steven Spielberg's acclaimed historical drama Armistad, a film about a mutiny on a slave ship bound for America, are based on the 1967 poem by French-speaking Ivorian poet Bernard Binlin Dadié and are written in Mende, a West African language spoken in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
On Friday, October 10, 2014, LACC, in partnership with Pasadena's Kidspace Children's Museum, participates in ArtNight Pasadena, a free community-wide evening of art, music and entertainment presented by some of the city's most prominent arts and cultural institutions and held in venues throughout Pasadena from 6-10 pm. LACC presents a free performance at the museum, as well as special demonstrations of its First Experiences in Singing classes that introduce 6- and 7-year-old children to the wonders and excitement of singing and music.
Building upon its long history of presenting other children's choirs from the U.S. and abroad, LACC hosts a choral exchange and concert with the illustrious German boys choir Windsbacher Knabenchor, with which the chorus previously participated in a workshop while touring Germany, on October 26, 2014, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.
The civic-minded chorus, which regularly partners with other community organizations for special programs and activities, shares a music exchange with the Verdugo Young Musician's Association, a Pasadena-area orchestral outreach program for children ages 7 to15, on Monday, November 3, 2014, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.
LACC joins the historic Wilshire Boulevard Temple in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the hit musical Fiddler on the Roof with a rousing performance of the show's upbeat crowd-pleaser "To Life!" on Saturday, November 16, 2014. The multi-Tony Award-winning production opened on Broadway in 1964 and was the longest running musical on the Great White Way for more than a decade. With music by Jerry Block, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein, it continues to delight audiences around the globe. The 1,658-seat circa 1929 sanctuary of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, recently underwent an extensive multi-million dollar restoration.
Spreading Christmas joy across the Southland, LACC performs Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols on Jacaranda's adventurous "Winter Dreams" program on Saturday, December 6, 2014, 8 pm, at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica. Mark Alan Hilt conducts the seasonal concert, which also features the Lyris Quartet, Jacaranda Chamber Singers, Jacaranda Chamber Orchestra and vocal soloists.
LACC presents its popular annual Winter Concert, celebrating American song, on two consecutive Sundays, December 7 and 14, 2014, 7 pm, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, the chorus's home venue. The program features works by respected Los Angeles composers David Montoya, Nick Strimple and Wayne Bisbee, Minnesota's Abbie Betinis, Florida's David Brunner and the East Coast's Charles Ives, as well as such legendary American minimalist composers as Terry Riley, John Adams and Philip Glass. Adding a seasonal touch are holiday carols crafted by John Jacob Niles, who greatly influenced the American folk music revival in the 1950s and 1960s; several holiday gospel settings; and a round from the shaped-note tradition by Boston's William Billings, considered American's first choral composer.
In other seasonal offerings, LACC makes its seventh guest appearance in matinee and evening performances of the Pasadena Symphony's popular Holiday Candlelight concert led by conductor Grant Cooper on Saturday, December 13, 2014, 4 pm and 7 pm, at Pasadena's All Saints Church. The program, featuring soprano Lisa Vroman, rings in the holidays by candlelight in the church's architecturally exquisite and acoustically sonorous setting.
To kick off the New Year, the chorus joins the Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon, and Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra for back-to-back historically informed performances of Bach's seminal St. Matthew Passion on Saturday January 31, 2 pm, and Sunday, February 1, 2015, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The towering masterwork, proclaimed by National Public Radio "one of the pillars of Western sacred music," has inspired audiences around the globe for more than three centuries with its message of redemption and transcendence.
LACC makes it second appearance this season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performing the West Coast premiere of a new multi-media production of Alice in Wonderland by Unsuk Chin with libretto by David Henry Hwang, crafted from Lewis Carroll's beloved tale, and a multi-media component by innovative London-based director/video artist Netia Jones on Friday, February 27, 2015, 8 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Guest conductor Susanna Mälkki leads this new operatic adaptation. The well-respected German opera magazine Opernwelt decreed the original production, which debuted in 2007 by the Bavarian State Opera, "world premiere of the year."
On Sunday, April 19, 2015, LACC travels to Northern California to make its debut at Stanford University's newly opened Bing Concert Hall, described by critics as one of the region's most "intimate" and "exciting" new venues. The famed chorus premieres a new work by composer/sound engineer Mark Gray and librettist Niloufar Talebi, which is based on a Persian children's story and was commissioned by LACC specifically for this auspicious occasion. Gray's music has been called "addictive" (Los Angeles Times), "revelatory" (All Music) and "full of energy" (Sequenza 21). The 842-seat, $112 million Bing Concert Hall, named after Los Angeles-based philanthropists Peter and Helen Bing who provided the lead gift for the hall's construction, opened in January 2013.
This spring Los Angeles Children's Chorus hosts its annual Gala Bel Canto, which shines the spotlight on distinguished honorees from the worlds of the arts, philanthropy and the chorus's alumni community, draws supporters from across the Southland and spotlights the remarkable talents of LACC's choristers (date and other details to be announced). Proceeds from the event benefit the chorus's artistic, educational and scholarship programs.
LACC's popular Spring Concert, featuring a vibrant mix of music both contemporary and traditional, is slated for two consecutive Sundays, May 3 and 10, 2015, 7 pm, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.
Next summer, LACC continues its proud tradition of touring nationally and internationally, reaching a global audience with its remarkable artistry. (Tour locations and dates to be announced.)
Reaching New Singers
For children interested in joining LACC's ranks, open auditions for the renowned chorus take place on June 4-7, 2015, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. No previous training in music or singing or audition preparations are required. Auditions for the Young Men's Ensemble take place in mid-August.
LACC also offers its popular program First Experiences in Singing, eight- to ten-week, non-auditioned, non-performing classes that introduce six- and seven-year-old children to the wonders and excitement of singing and music. The 45-minute weekly classes are designed to assist budding singers with vocal and musical skill development, expose them to general music and rhythmic concepts, and introduce them to bel canto singing, the vocal style for which LACC is noted. Classes are held at Pasadena Presbyterian Church each fall, spring and summer.
Graduates of Level I of First Experiences in Singing are eligible to continue to Level II and Level III classes, which are ten weeks in length. Children completing Level III may then join LACC's newest ensemble, First Experiences in Choral Singing, now in its fourth season. The ensemble is designed to assist children in developing their vocal, aural, musical and choral skills in preparation for advancement to the Preparatory Choir. The curriculum and repertoire focuses on developing the upper range of the treble voice, introducing acute listening skills, creating an awareness of musical phrasing, reading from an octavo and learning extended rehearsal decorum. The ensemble performs for parents twice a year.
This Fall, Level I classes run eight consecutive Wednesdays, from September 24 to November 12, 2014, at 4:15 pm. Level II classes run ten consecutive Wednesdays, from September 10 to November 12, 2014, at 5:15 pm.