Thursday, April 26, 2007

Annual Inspiration

It’s hard to look in from the outside, the place where my rapidly lowering voice forced me to go. Though I am still very much part of the YPC as a member of the Young Men’s Division, it has been a very odd feeling for me each year to be relegated to the audience for the Transient Glory concerts (save appearances in one song each year). As a member of Concert Chorus from 2002-2004, I was lucky enough to perform in Transient Glory II-IV. As chorus was already my medium for escaping the monotony of school or any other issues in my life, Transient Glory provided me with a huge rush of exhilarating challenge and an enormous sense of accomplishment that would have been otherwise laughably unattainable.

Unfortunately, in the middle of my time in Concert Chorus I was unfortunately stricken very ill for a frustratingly long amount of time. Though I was forced to miss some time, the chorus became the only place (besides with my family) that I felt a constant stream of support supplemented with the opportunity to take part in extremely fulfilling concerts like Transient Glory. Suddenly, working on incredibly difficult pieces of music like David Del Tredici’s “Four Heartfelt Anthems” with supportive people who share the same core interests and goals made everything else seem insignificant.

Each year, I knew that from January through the end of April, I would have the opportunity to work on, (hopefully) perfect, and perform fascinating and sometimes frustratingly difficult new pieces of music written for us by some of the most amazing composers in the world. Many times we could even expect to have them visit a rehearsal and we could get a glimpse into their genius. The whole experience was a truly amazing one. I know that for me it instilled in me much greater determination, self-confidence, and musicality. The feeling of satisfaction of seeing pieces for the first time, freaking out about how hard they are and thinking that we can never pull them off, and then going on stage and nailing them in front of hundreds of people is unmatchable.

Though it is very tempting for me to want to live the experience vicariously through the current Concert Choristers, I try and find the positives of my new perspective on the experience. First of all, when you perform a piece, you are not able to hear the full effect of the piece. Since I have seen the last two Transient Glory concerts from the balcony, I have been able to see the pieces in their entirety on the day of the concert instead of waiting a few years for Francisco to release the CD. Though each year is obviously different, it is a somewhat good feeling knowing that I have been on that stage in this concert before. I understand how nerve-racking it is to be up there with the difficult repertoire and this perspective makes it even more gratifying to see the group sound and look incredible on a song (as they always do). Though I would obviously love to be there on stage again, I suppose that I enjoy being on this side of the lights, looking at an amazing concert while invoking the memories of when I was there doing the same thing.

Zachary Denkensohn, 17

Bass 2, YM

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tarik O'Regan!!!

Today Tarik O'Regan came into rehearsal. He was really cool. In addition to his infectious British accect which everyone seemed to enjoy (the girls at least), I think he really reached out to us. I mean personally, I detest those children's songs that are written by middle-aged smug guys who attempt to relate to us and define us: "the next generation". They write sugary sweet rounds about joining hands and coming together because remember kids, we are the future!

No, Tarik is a really down to earth guy and it really got through that he worked hard on this piece; he worked hard to relate to kids in the city.
The Taxi, which is arguably one of our simpler pieces (against Steve Reich, hello!) is also a favorite of mine and of most I've talked to.
It's got this great pulsing beat and mysterious sound to it, not to mention awesome lyrics. The poem Tarik chose couldn't have been more perfect in channeling the feelings of youth. At my age at least, and especially since leaving my hometown of Miami almost a year ago, the text of The Taxi, which is that of leaving the one you love and the pain you feel as the city pulls you apart, is relevant.

Written by Christina Montero, YPC Concert Chorus Division

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Transient Glory 2007

This year has been my second time singing in Transient Glory. I can tell you from experience, a lot of work goes into making this concert the best that it can be. I have been singing with YPC now for about eight years, but nothing can truly compare to the dynamic of this concert, and the thrill you get of unveiling brand new, world premieres of newly commissioned music. It’s incredible when you think about it. I am sixteen years old, and there are children in this chorus who are not yet in high school, yet we have been given the opportunity to work with some of today’s most respected, renowned, and talented composers.

YPC has given me an infinite supply of
memories over the years that I will never forget and that have truly shaped me to be the person that I am today. That being said, Transient Glory is without a doubt one of the most meaningful and treasured YPC moments that I have been given. Sure, it’s a lot of of work. The amount of rehearsal time that this concert requires is so incredibly intense that YPC very shortly becomes a second home for us all. Sometimes I wonder how I could choose to give myself so much extra work. Yet watching everybody stay focused and work hard during rehearsals reminds me that we’re all in this together, working side by side to achieve something truly groundbreaking.

The music we are singing this year has been
challenging, but worthwhile. Meredith Monk’s piece “Three Heavens and Hells” was, I believe, a new experience for every chorister. She taught us how to use the voice as an instrument in itself. Though the text for the song itself may appear simple at first, the song has many layers and vocal techniques that give the song an entirely new energy. Meredith Monk taught us to let loose and not be afraid to use our voice to create unique and distinctive sounds.

Ned Rorem’s piece “Afternoon On A
Hill” was particularly beautiful. The different poems used for the text combined with the soaring melodies he created fit perfectly.

Steve Reich’s piece “You Are Variations” was
particularly challenging. We worked extremely hard to master the different rhythms used in the piece. However, this was one of my favorite pieces. The voice parts blend together to produce an amazing sound. I think we all became very focused and wrapped up in this song while singing it in rehearsals.

Bruce Adolphe’s piece “Singing This
Piece” was extremely fun to sing. The text, which is literally about singing a choral piece, was made up of comments that I have actually heard choristers make. It was very true to what it is like to sing a choral piece. The first time we sang it through, we could not stop laughing because all of the lyrics accurately describe a chorus.

Michael Gordon’s piece “Every Stop On The F Train”
was also a challenging song. It required complete concentration to sing, and taught me a lot about different rhythms. I now know that I can never get lost while taking the F train, because I know every stop!

Tarik O’ Regan’s piece “The Taxi” is incredibly
beautiful. The text, which talks about lost love and longing in the city, truly made me think. Set to Tarik’ O’ Regan’s energetic and vibrant music, this piece truly embodied the fast-paced city life. Every piece we have sung this year taught me something I didn’t know before. They challenged us as a chorus, and made us work our hardest. These rehearsals have made me realize what an incredible outcome you can create if you work hard, and I cannot wait to see the outcome of all of our persistence and determination at this year’s Transient Glory concert.

Written by Jessica Cannizzaro, Concert Chorus division of YPC