Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 3 at the Choral Music Experience at Ithaca College!

What a beautiful sight at the Buttermilk Falls. Everyone is here and we’re having a wonderful picnic with delicious food. The only downside is that we can’t swim in the gorge. There are no lifeguards.  Its nice to see everyone having fun and hanging outside. The YPC family has extended to the ICC. We hope we can become friends and eventually pen pals with our home stays. We have come to love them and will definitely miss them. More fun awaits us.
- Victoria, Sandra, and Catherine, Cantare

I spend all year looking forward to CME. I’ve been here so many years in row I can’t even imagine a summer without it. The music is amazing, the conductors are unforgettable and the friends are forever. At most camps or summer programs you meet people and are friends with them for the time you are all there together but that is what makes CME different, the connection we all gain through our music is a much stronger bond. I remember about 6 years ago I met some amazing kids from YPC. We are all still close friends and keep in touch on a regular basis. It’s so much fun to meet kids from totally different places and still be able to get so close purely through our love of music! YPC+ICC= <3
- Anna, Ithaca Children’s Chorus

Our days at Ithaca for the CME with YPC and ICC youngsters.
My third experience as a conducting participant at IC has brought new life to my conducting; the gesture, the study, the new friends.  But most impressive for me has been the commitment of the young students who sing for us every day.  They can't know exactly what to expect from the next conductor who stands before them, and yet they sing and love us so graciously.  Often they will sing the same piece for 4 different conductors in the same afternoon.  For the teachers, putting ourselves out there can be very intimidating, but these students understand (they have been taught well) and show us empathy and compassion.  Thanks kids!  And now I have to say, “Please promise you will always wear your seat belts”…please.

Music educators near and far exclaim about the warmth and grace that Jim Papoulis gives through his workshops and music.  I am thrilled to have been a recipient of such openness.  He has reveled in helping this year’s participants become better teachers; there are students all over the WORLD who will directly benefit from his efforts with us for this week.  Thanks Jim.

Janet Galvan; I am forever grateful for these opportunities.  She always helps me feel as though I am in the correct field.  My training is greatly enhanced by her insight and gentle ways.  Thank you Janet.  This week has truly gotten me out of that funk.  Bless you.
- Loa Bagg Noyd, Teacher Hancock Central School in Hancock, NY

I have loved to sing since I was little, and since joining YPC I've had lots of fun singing with others.  This week at CME has been so much fun, and I've discovered even more how much hard work pays off in the end.  It is an experience like no other to be singing your heart out, surrounded by so many others doing the same!  YPC makes me really believe the message of peace and hope in all the Jim Papoulis songs we're singing this week.

It's been really fascinating to learn about different styles and techniques of conducting this week.  Elizabeth is always there for us when we rehearse and perform, but I've never thought about everything she does, in showing us tempo, dynamics, words, pitch, all at once.  Watching the student conductors work so hard to become better has given me even more appreciation for Elizabeth and all the other awesome conductors of YPC!

This experience makes me even more excited for the new challenges that will come next year with being in Concert Chorus and the Symposium in February!
- Lindsey, Cantare

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 2 at the Choral Music Experience at Ithaca College!

When I heard about the Ithaca trip, I was really excited, so I packed my bags as soon as I heard that I was going to go on it.  I met my home-stay family two days ago; they are a lovely couple named Jim and Jan.  Their daughter lives in Las Vegas and is a college graduate, so since she doesn’t live with them anymore.  I got the opportunity to sleep in her room; her room is really big and it has enough room to dance! I can turn on my music and sing and dance and just be myself. My roommates always say that there’s a party going on in my room every night because of how loud my music is!  Jim and Jan have a dog and a cat; both of their pets are very friendly, and they love it when you pet and play with them.  My roommates' names are Sandra and Joan-they are extremely funny and amazing.  Everyday we play different card or board games, like “Clue,” “Monopoly,” and “Poker.” We have a lot of things in common: we all like to read books, play games, sing and dance. I am having a great time so far on the Ithaca trip-there are so many gorgeous sights to see, and many animals like deer, horses, and birds. A few days ago I went to Ithaca Falls-I was so excited because it was so pretty and you could swim near it if you wanted. It was refreshing to only be able to hear the rush of water, and not the sounds of horns blaring during the morning rush hour. There is so much that I want to explore and see, and I’m eager to see what else is out there waiting.
- Izodwa, Cantare

Guess what?!  I got to conduct “Give Us Hope” today!  I really had fun conducting the group.  The chorus was cheering for me and laughing when I conducted.  It really gave me a chance to go beyond my comfort zone.  I enjoyed it.

- Ange, Cantare

Hi, I’m Ta’Sean and I’m rooming with Justin and Quint.  We live with Russell and there are three fun kids living in the house.  They are really taking care of us.  We cook, play games, and go out to see the waterfalls.  They are also teaching us about Ithaca’s history.  We are having a great time!

- Ta’Sean, Young Men

This summer’s trip to Ithaca has been one of the greatest experiences for me.  My home-stay family is the best and we’ve started to get extremely close.  Yesterday, they took me out on their motorboat and, of course, I hurt myself on the motor.  It was AWESOME!!  This is my second time at the Choral Music Experience and this time is even better than the last.  So far, the song-writing workshop with Jim Papoulis is my favorite class. I almost wish the time we spend writing a song could be longer. I’ve also become really close to my home-stay family, and the tears will definitely fall when I have to leave them on Friday.

- Bryanna, Cantare

What a hot day!  I am at the pool trying to get a tan with my friends.  The song-writing workshop with Jim Papoulis was fun.  Janet was so energetic and fun to be conducted by. Her pointers really helped us. I really had a blast. After this we will be having a pizza party and then my roommates and I are going to the movies to see “Mr. Poppers Penguins!”

- Jordan, Cantare

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 1 at the Choral Music Experience at Ithaca College!

During master class, Clair was conducting “Give Us Hope” when the teacher of the teachers asked a student of the choir to come up and lead the choir for this song. I was excited thinking about going up in front of everybody, it sounded very fun. So without thinking, I raised my hand and Janet, the master teacher, invited me up. Janet told me to lead them the way I wanted to. I felt that I was lost at the beginning, until it got to the chorus, and all my feeling flew through me. Everyone was so engaged, and so was Janet. She said to me; that “You are a great conductor without experience!” That was the highlight of my day!

- Alex, Young Men
So today was my first official day in Ithaca, New York. When I arrived yesterday, my host family was like my second family. They treated my chorus friends and I like we have known them for many years. I knew this was going to be a good start of my adventure here. Today during rehearsal, I met members of the Ithaca Children’s Choir. They were really nice and they sang very well too. The master class we had was comprised of different conductors conducting us and it was such a musical experience. I learned that the way a conductor conducts reflects on the way a choir would sing. I also saw Jim Papoulis conduct and that was very cool because the way he moved his body toward his music was so strong and powerful that it made me really excited and happy to sing. 

- Jacqulyn, Cantare

Day 1 at Ithaca College was way more fun than I expected. My host family is so nice and welcoming, the weather is beautiful, and the Ithaca Children’s Choir is very friendly. I am enjoying my stay here. Master class was long but kept me interested the whole time because the teachers were fun and engaging. I met many new people at Ithaca College today and didn’t expect them to be as friendly as they were. I am looking forward to what the rest of the week has to offer. All this hard work is going to be worthwhile at our concert on Friday. 

- Nailah, Cantare

Having a great time at Choral Music Experience - Ithaca College, NY!

Members of Cantare and Young Men are in the throes of the first day at the Choral Music Experience graduate summer workshop week at Ithaca College, and having an amazing time already!

YPC and ICC (Ithaca Children's Choir) combine to create the resident chorus for 15 participants who are taking lessons and master classes in conducting from Dr. Janet Galvan with composer-in-residence Jim Papoulis.  Loving learning some exciting new repertoire, working with different conductors and musicians, and giving feedback to each conductor.

But before all of that...we arrived last night after a long but fun bus ride, met at the James J. Whalen Center for Music at Ithaca College, and went right off with our home stay families.  The choristers have such fun stories already about the new friends they are making (stay tuned for chorister blogs a little later this afternoon!)  Bright and early this morning we took our swim tests with the IC lifeguards so we can enjoy ourselves in the pool every afternoon, and started right off with a rehearsal with Sophia and Elizabeth this morning to continue the preparation of all the great music we're singing this week.

And of course, we loved the dining hall for endless supply of food and relaxation with friends from NYC and Ithaca!

Choristers will be blogging later on and throughout the week...stay with us!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

the song i sing

My perfect sing-song of everything. This is the melody. It is the gift I bring. And it has changed my life...

Nothing seems to sum up the YPC experience better than these lines from the YPC commission from Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. It's amazing how the very human act of singing can act as a catalyst of friendship and hope, and yet it happens time and again, as if through some superhuman force. I've been reading so many articles about why this is so, but no one can seem to explain it. It just happens.

We are saying thanks to Amy Kotsonis tonight, and as a special valedictory performance, Amy is conducting our signature song, Jim Papoulis' Give Us Hope.

Thanks again for following our live blog. Thanks, V! Nice chatting with you!

original song by the seniors

This is a tradition at YPC: the seniors compose their own song about YPC and the future they are facing. It's a touching moment, always.

senior night

Francisco has been talking to the audience about how YPC has been invited to perform with some of the most prestigious musicians across the country, and about the chorus' upcoming travels to Brazil, Argentina and the Dominican Republic this summer and fall, and to Normandy, France, next year. He thanks the board and the volunteers and everyone in the house for their continued support.

But now he is heaping encomiums on the stars of the spring concert, YPC's seniors. There are 11 of them this year: Danielle Bennett, Hannah Chinn, Elizabeth Dorovitsine, Maya Hodge, Alexandra Kessler, Camille Labarre, Charlie Lovett, Nichole Musumeci, Isaac Ponce, Brian Sussman, and Emily Viola. They are moving on to college but as we all know, nobody ever leaves YPC, and we're pretty sure most of them will be back come spring break to help YPC (maybe help V and me blog!). One thing YPC has always been proud of is the fact that all our seniors go on to college. That's quite a record knowing YPC has been around for nearly 2 decades. Our seniors have been with us for up to 10 years. Yup. One more round of applause for the class of 2011!

Congratulations Graduating Seniors

It's time to congratulate our Seniors who are leaving the YPC and attending college in the fall...and some really amazing universities: Yale, Columbia, University of Michigan, University of St. Andrews, Tufts University...what an amazing group!

backstage pics

Concert chorus waits for their turn to go back onstage.

young men on stage

sam was a man by Vincent Persichetti -- wasn't that an interesting piece to open with? Hey V, am I reading this right, that three of these Young Men are graduating this year? Uh oh, those Cantare boys better grow up fast. We need more of these superlatively talented young men in the chorus. To think that this division is a fairly new addition to YPC. Francisco trains these singers like they were meant to out-Pavarotti Pavarotti or something. And somehow they always rise to the occasion. After that sombre piece by Beethoven, Wir haben ihn gesehen, the guys are doing Broadway: I Could Have Danced All Night. You know, V, some years ago Francisco thought of the idea of doing a Shuffle repertoire, sort of like the Shuffle function on an iPod. This night shows how that idea has come to fruition. The way these divisions jump from one genre to another, from one culture to another, across time and space, just makes my head spin (or shuffle).

I Could Have Danced All Night & Hol' Yo' Han'

Yep E!  How can you NOT love these guys?  Personality, panache, choreography and all in tune!  Love it!

And the Crowd Goes Wild...

for Young Men's Chorus!  Wow, way to show the love!  Do you think the audience digs these guys, E?

young men are next

There's a lot of activity here backstage as Young Men are getting ready to go onstage. Hope you're having fun following V and me. Send us a comment, post something, send money! Just kidding. Well, not.

amy's intermezzo

What, V? Amy's leaving??? Oh yeah we knew that. She's doing doctoral work in Florida, I hear. She's done wonders with Intermezzo. Tonight they're performing a wide range of music from John Leavitt's Festival Sanctus, which we just heard, to a Scottish folk song, and to piece by Dvorak that's got so many superscripts I can't even type it here. A sweet song, this one. And they are finishing their set with Stephen Leek's Riawanna -- again shades of the savannah here, with percussion accompaniment by John Hadfield. This talented group of youngsters finish their turn with the American classic Amazing Grace, arranged for voice and guitar.

more globe trotting with Interezzo

First a song in Latin, then a Scottish fold song...I wonder where Intermezzo will take us next?

Intermezzo's on

It's Intermezzo's turn to perform with their conductor, Amy Kotsonis.  E, can you believe that this is Amy's last YPC Spring Concert!  She's leaving YPC to pursue a PhD in choral conducting from Florida State University.  She will be sorely missed!

JB Harrison sez:


Sophia had those Preluders rockin' and Jim Papoulis' new piece in Swahili was wonderful.

Then Elizabeth blew us away with the Cantare and “Wonderful World”!

Not to mention the exquisite work of our fabulous Concert Chorus harmonies.

Can't wait for this intermission to end so I can soak in the rest!

Best to all for the summer!

and now a word from our lovely audience

It's our intermission, but here are a few words from people we managed to pull out of the crowd.

This is my 8th spring concert and they only get better and better! The little ones in prelude rocked the house and Cantare was incredibly imaginative! Can't wait for the second half! Better get some more tissues.

Two world premieres so far and both rocked the house. Go YPC!

Thomas & Deborah Cabaniss

cantare surround

Are you watching this? Cantare has gone offstage and has surrounded the audience. Wrapping the audience in wonderment. Nice.

cantare continued

If you're listening to the concert right now, this haunting song you're hearing is Francisco's Cantan. I was backstage earlier and F and the musicians were talking about how hard it was to find musicians who could accompany the chorus for this piece, because it's so difficult. But you wouldn't know, would you, by listening to Cantare -- they make it sound so effortless. Next up: Stephen Hatfield's rousing Tjak! (you can feel the entire hall jumping!) and the all time classic What a Wonderful World.

cantare's turn

You know, V, every time I hear Cantare they seem to be taking one risk after the other. These kids are performing music that would be pretty challenging even for older singers. We just heard them sing a Japanese folk song, then Britten's "Gloria" from his Missa Brevis in D. And now we're listening to a YPC commission, Small Red Tree by Derek Bermel. Conductor Elizabeth Nunez must be doing some mojo with these kids because they just keep getting better and better. And I hear the CD they just recorded is doing very very well.


I agree E.  We have a skilled group of choristers, what can we say?  Not only is the music challenging, but these choristers sing in so many different languages as well.  They just finished Cantan  and I'm super impressed!  Followed up with Tjak!- a Balinese temple song performed during sunset at the temple of Uluwatu on the south tip of Bali.

Vamos al Caribe!

La Sopa De Isabel:  From the sound of this song, this soup must be delicious!  And Prelude is killing it with their fierce merengue moves!
And what a great story about the origins of this song, no E?!

prelude round the world

What's always amazing to me is how kids as young as Prelude perform such a global repertoire. From Bee..., we were transported in space and time to Brahm's sweetly sung Marienwurmchen, then a Czech folk song, and now we're hearing strains of Swahili via the uber-internationalist composer Jim Papoulis. This, by the way, is a World Premiere. Kusimama, as the song is called, means Stand Tall. After this, Prelude ends with another new song written by Francisco himself -- another World Premiere. La Sopa de Isabel has a domestic story about it -- F trying to have his son Sebastian eat his soup, with a little help from grandma.

And as I'm writing this, V, I can see Cantare already lining up to go onstage. I have to say I've never been in this part of the house before and I'm amazed at the clockwork efficiency of it all.

Prelude up!

It's a sea of black and white on stage as Predule files in with the lovely conductor Sophia Miller.
Bee! I'm Expecting You!, so fitting for the Spring Concert!  And so much energy in Kusimama!  That's a lot of power coming from such small people!  Rockin' it!


Indeed. That was a pleasant surprise, wasn't it, V? I never expected that song to pop up but it does sure make it really feel like it's spring. We're taking a short break as Prelude goes onstage. I see Concert Chorus walking past now and they're thrilled about how this first part of the program has turned.


Francisco did it again -- he turned around and addressed the audience, as part of Tembandumba, thereby breaking the fourth wall between conductor and audience. Very innovative, I have to say. This piece rocks!


...makes you want to stand up in your seats and dance!  Don't you think, Eric?  Ready for a little salsa?
Concert Chorus certainly have the choreography down pat.  Bailamos!

prelude is getting ready

Hey, I'm here backstage (well, sort of) and I see the Prelude kids lining up and getting ready to go onstage. They'll be led by Sophia Miller. I haven't see her yet but the children look so smart in their very NYC black and white outfits.

live blogging the spring concert

We're doing something different tonight -- we have two people live blogging the annual Spring Concert. You've just heard from Vanessa (V) and this is Eric (E), and right now we're simply captivated by the Concert Chorus' rendition of Natsu No Omoide, which is being performed here in sympathy with the people of Japan. Japan, as you know, is virtually YPC's second home, the chorus having been so warmly received there for the last 2 summers.

Enter Concert Chorus

Concert Chorus takes the stage, conducted by Artistic Director and Founder, Francisco Nunez, singing The Little Land from Four Heartfelt Anthems...they sound hauntingly beautiful...

Their next song Natsu No Omoide they dedicate to the people of Japan, who they have had the opportunity to meet on their numerous tours to the country.

Almost GO Time atYPC's 2011 Spring Concert!

Welcome to The Young People's Chorus of New York City's 2011 Spring Concert!
The Alumni Reception is wrapping up.  Thanks to all of our great alumns for joining us tonight and congrats to all of our NEW alumns.  We look forward to seeing a lot of you in the future!
The hall is filling up and it is definitley a sold out show!