Free State-wide Singing Event BIG SING CALIFORNIA Announced
This summer the Los Angeles Master Chorale and choral music superstar Eric Whitacre will present the largest free group singing event in California history-Big Sing California.
Big Sing California culminates in a concert in Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, July 21st at 2 PM (PDT). The full 100-voice Master Chorale will perform from the stage and the 2,200-person audience will sing-along to selected works on the program. The concert will be conducted by Whitacre, Grant Gershon, the Master Chorale's Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director, and guest conductors Moira Smiley and Rollo Dilworth. Whitacre, who is currently the Master Chorale's Swan Family Artist-in-Residence-and who has a huge global audience through his Virtual Choir projects, popular choral compositions, and Grammy Award-winning recordings-will also serve as the event's host.
The concert in Los Angeles will be broadcast live to five venues across the state where more singers will join the performance experience by viewing the concert on large screens and singing from the audience. Hub leaders drawn from the local choral communities have been engaged to coordinate the events and rehearse the singers leading up to the performance day. The five California hub cities and venues are:
SAN DIEGO, Copley Symphony Hall
Hub leader: John Russell
SAN FRANCISCO, Nourse Theater
Hub leader: Elena Sharkova
SACRAMENTO, Community Center Theater at the Sacramento Community Center
Hub leader: Donald Kendrick
FRESNO, Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall at Clovis Unified Performing Arts Center
Hub leader: Anna Hamre
RIVERSIDE, Coil School of the Arts at Riverside City College
Hub leader: John Byun
People can register online now at lamasterchorale.org/big-sing-california to attend the Los Angeles concert or any of the five hub broadcast venues. Once capacity has been reached, a wait-list will be created for each venue, and ticket vouchers will be distributed 10 days prior to the performance.
Live feeds will take place during the concert, connecting the participants in the hub cities to Whitacre and the Master Chorale in Los Angeles. The event's reach is further expanded with the concert being live-streamed on the Big Sing California website, making it possible for people around the world to participate. (The combined capacity of the six venues is 9,800; over 10,000 singers are expected to participate including the live-stream audience.)
In addition to providing ticket registration for the live events, the Big Sing California website enables participants to order the Big Sing California music book featuring the scores and lyrics for the songs they will sing, giving them the chance to learn and practice them before the event. The website also features video tutorials presented by singers of the Los Angeles Master Chorale demonstrating the four voice parts (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) of the songs. Guest artist Moira Smiley also presents a body percussion tutorial.
The songs selected for the participants range from straightforward sing-alongs such as Lean On Me, This Land Is Your Land, and Hey Jude, to choral works by Eric Whitacre and Morten Lauridsen, and arrangements by Moira Smiley and Rollo Dilworth. The program also features an exclusive arrangement of Pentatonix's Sing by Grammy Award-winning arranger Ben Bram (Pitch Perfect, Glee) created especially for Big Sing California.
Big Sing California is the largest community project the Los Angeles Master Chorale has ever undertaken. The project was boosted by a $450,000 Exploring Engagement Fund grant from The James Irvine Foundation.
"There is little as uplifting as standing shoulder to shoulder with your friends, family, and even neighbors you've never met until now, to surrender yourself to the power and euphoria of music," says Whitacre. "We now know that just singing together in a group reduces the stress hormone cortisol, it releases endorphins, it causes a sense of joy and euphoria and it creates a physiological bonding chemical between the people in the room. To be able do this on the scale of Big Sing California is nothing short of thrilling."
Grant Gershon says the scale of the project is exhilarating for the Master Chorale: "Big Sing L.A. in Grand Park last summer affirmed that people can and want to sing, and love to sing together. To expand this concept state-wide - and beyond - with Big Sing California is tremendously exciting for us. It is our hope that this event will inspire people to make singing, and the joy it brings, a regular part of their lives."
Big Sing California is made possible with lead support from The James Irvine Foundation. Major support provided by Terri & Jerry Kohl and Philip A. Swan. Additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and the California Arts Council.
Photo: Big Sing California host, composer/conductor Eric Whitacre. Photo by Marc Royce.