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Oregon Tour 2016 – On the way!

Singers from Choristers, Concert Choir, and Chamber Singers left St. Louis this morning for a week long tour of the Oregon coast. We are thrilled to be participating in the Pacific International Choral Festival (PICFEST) and can’t wait to see all the beautiful scenery the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Check back in the coming days for updates as we travel and sing together!

Breakfast at the Airport!

Breakfast at the Airport!

 

View from the plane as we land in Portland.

View from the plane as we land in Portland.

MONSANTO FUND AWARDS GRANT TO THE ST. LOUIS CHILDREN’S CHOIRS FOR MUSIC MADE TOGETHER

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ST LOUIS – The St. Louis Children’s Choirs announced March 22nd the award of a $5,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund to support Music Made Together: Reaching Under-Resourced Schools. The program, inspired by a request from St. Louis City Public Schools, provides vocal music educators and students in under-resourced school districts with high-quality choral music experiences and enhanced choral skills through in-school collaborations, individual classroom observations, and hands-on learning.

 

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“What we experienced today was a presentation that was warm, thought provoking, informative and inclusive. We are extremely motivated to work with our children utilizing many of the concepts and techniques introduced to us during today’s workshop,” Duane Martin Foster, Normandy Schools Collaborative Fine Arts Leader, said following a Professional Development Day at Normandy Schools through Music Made Together.

With the help of the Monsanto Fund – and in partnership with the Des Lee Fine Arts Educational Collaborative – The St. Louis Children’s Choirs is able to continue work with St. Louis Public Schools and Normandy Schools, as well as begin work with two new districts, Jennings schools and University City schools. In total, the Choirs will work directly with approximately 1,400 students and will reach another 22,600 students as each educator applies the skills and knowledge gained through Music Made TogetherDesLee_Symbol_HR300dpi

 

 

 

ABOUT THE ST. LOUIS CHILDREN’S CHOIRS

The St. Louis Children’s Choirs’ mission is “shaping young lives through musical excellence.” With a focus on including all young people who love to sing regardless of where they live or attend school, the Choirs includes about 450 talented young singers (ages 6 to 18) from more than 200 schools and 85 zip codes in Missouri and Illinois who bring their artistry and love of classical, sacred, contemporary, and world music to the concert stage for everyone to enjoy. Program scholarships are provided on a needs-based sliding scale.

 

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Berner, an outstanding music faculty trains young singers through a challenging and diverse curriculum with six ensemble levels that match the children’s musical abilities. The St. Louis Children’s Choirs offers young artists world-class performance opportunities and a choral music experience that emphasizes musical excellence and character education.

ABOUT THE MONSANTO FUND

The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at www.monsantofund.org.

3 Ways to Practice Like a Pro … Without Practice Tracks

1) Memorize the text. Text in a song is 50% of the art. This is why clear pronunciation and diction is so important! Write out the words, study them, memorize them, and consider their meaning independent of the music. If a song is in a foreign language, do your own direct (word-for-word) translation using the internet or a language dictionary. This is different from a lyrical translation & may inform your experience of your directors’ musical phrasing in rehearsal.

2) Feel the Beat – Rhythm work. Read through it first, then clap or pat it out – the steady beat with one hand, and your rhythm with the other. Pay special attention to little things that often are missed – pick up rhythms (is it a quarter or an eighth note?), dotted rhythms, tied rhythms, and syncopations. Notice any special markings supplied by the composer – accents, fermatas, or staccato markings.

3) Solfege, Solfege, Solfege! If you’re not in a Music Reading Class and haven’t had exposure to Music Theory, ask your director to help you identify the key signature, and “Do”, for each song. From that point, write in the solfege for each note in your part, lightly in pencil, throughout the song. Notice any patterns? This will help build the sound of the music in your mind before ever singing a note in rehearsal!

When you get stuck or have questions, use the buzz book to call a Choir friend, and maybe you can figure it out together! You also could ask your music teacher at school, or bring your questions to your next SLCC rehearsal. Teachers love to know you’re learning, and appreciate the excitement and energy you bring to school and rehearsals.

We hope you enjoy your time practicing at home!

College Audition Workshop and Masterclass

The St. Louis Children’s Choirs is pleased to present a College Audition Workshop and Masterclass for high school aged singers on Friday, February 5th. This workshop is ideal for young musicians who plan to pursue Music in college, whether in a degree program or as an extracurricular activity. SLCC Choir Manager Heather McKenzie Patterson will lead the workshop, which will include a masterclass with 4 pre-selected students currently preparing to audition for college.

The flyer linked below has full details. More information is also on our event page, https://www.slccsing.org/events/audition-workshop-and-masterclass/.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to info@slccsing.org so that we have enough handouts and materials printed. We hope to see some of you there!

Audition Workshop Flyer Jan 2016

 

Mrs. Patterson

Heather McKenzie Patterson

Learn what to wear (and NOT to wear!) at your audition.

Learn what to wear (and NOT to wear!) at your audition.

Alumni Spotlight – Mike Bosner ’04

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“I came to The St. Louis Children’s Choirs to explore a love of singing, music, and art. The Choirs provided a place where I was able to learn more about my love, hone my craft, and share that gift with others.
I look back on my time with Mrs. Berner and the choirs so fondly. I knew music was something I loved, but had no idea that it was something one could do as “work.” All those years of standing in the alto section turned out to engrain such a deep passion for music and art that I ended up finding a way to incorporate it into my life. In a way, it found me.
Music is a part of who I am. Through it I have found something I love, something that is my passion, and something I’m happy sharing with the world on a daily basis. My time at The St. Louis Children’s Choirs was where I first learned of this love so really, it’s where it all began. For that I will be eternally grateful.”
Mike Bosner is one of the two lead producers of the Tony, Olivier, and Grammy winning show, BEAUTIFUL – The Carole King Musical. BEAUTIFUL is entering it’s third smash year on Broadway, it’s second year in London’s West End, and mid way through it’s first national tour, which is playing at the Fabulous Fox Theatre early 2016. Upcoming international productions of BEAUTIFUL will be seen in Australia, Japan, South Africa, Germany, Scandinavia, and across the UK with an additional British National Tour. A film of BEAUTIFUL, produced by Tom Hanks and Sony Pictures, is in the works and which Mr. Bosner will also oversee. Previous to Beautiful, Mr. Bosner served five seasons as Associate Producer of The St. Louis Muny. There he oversaw more than 35 productions alongside Executive Producer and now producing partner, Paul Blake.

Europe Tour 2015: Update #6

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Tuesday started out a bit misty and rainy as we set off for a tour of the Saltzbergwerk Salt Mine in Berchtesgaden.

 

After suiting up in protective jumpsuits we hopped aboard a tram railway which took us down into the mine where it was about 57 degrees.  Once in the mine we disembarked and travelled in small groups with our arms around one another via a long wooden slide down to the next level!  We learned from video presentations and from our guide how the salt deposits are mined. The tour included a boat ride over a salt cavern filled with water which reminded the choir of scenes from “Phantom of the Opera!” The students loved the visit to the mine and photos are attached!

 

On the way back to the hotel we made a brief stop to see a beautiful mountain lake surrounded by the alps.

The final concert in Bad Reichenhall was an incredibly joyous evening for everyone. A local gospel choir opened the program and the church in Bad Reichenhall was filled with an enthusiastic audience. Concert Choir followed the gospel choir and gave an emotional and exciting performance. Billie played beautifully and the students gave the best performance of the tour.

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Language was no barrier and the people in the audience were beaming! Their response was overwhelming and Concert Choir received two standing ovations and sang two encores. The program closed with the gospel choir joining Concert Choir members in singing “We Gather” in English and German. It was a remarkable evening in every way!

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The gospel choir joined us for a celebratory dinner in the historic Saline restaurant and sang a beautiful arrangement of “Irish Blessing” as their farewell gift to Concert Choir.

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Chaperones and our ACFEA courier received a standing ovation and then we all headed back for a few hours of rest before a 5:00 a.m. departure for the airport!

Our ACFEA Tour guide Johan

Our ACFEA Tour guide Johan

It’s been a fabulous tour and we will never forget the warmth and friendship of all the people we have met on this musical journey!!

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Europe Tour 2015: Update #5

EuropeTour6Yesterday morning we had an early start with a guided bus tour through Munich including the Olympic Village, art museums, the English Gardens, and Munich universities.  At 10:00 a.m. the group went to see the beautiful Nymphenburg Palace. It was another very warm sunny day. After lunch and a brief rest at the hotel we drove to Landshut about an hour from Munich.

 

 

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The concert at Heiligkreutzkirche in the town of Landshut was unforgettable both for the beauty of the sound in the church and for the enthusiastic standing ovation! The students were called back for an encore and sang “We Gather” in German.

Landshut is such a picturesque town and you’ll see in the pictures that every house is painted a different color. Dinner was turkey and spetzle – a traditional German noodle dish. Dessert was an apple beignet and watermelon with vanilla ice cream which tasted amazing on a very warm evening.

 

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Today, Monday, is rainy and cooler. We are on our way to perform in the Salzburg Dom cathedral. We are well equipped with umbrellas and look forward to seeing some of the Sound of Music film locations this afternoon!

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Europe Tour 2015: Update #4

This morning we left Prague on another bright and sunny day. The students enjoyed the 6 hour bus ride together. They rested, talked, played card games, enjoyed the beautiful scenery, and then we all played a collective game where we learned 5 interesting facts about one another!

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We arrived in Munich at 2:00 pm and had time to explore Munich in chaperone groups this afternoon – shopping, sightseeing, and stopping for ice cream! It was another hot day but we didn’t mind. We are grateful it has not rained a single day!

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We look forward to another concert tomorrow evening in the town of Landshut – about an hour away from Munich.

Europe Tour 2015: Update #3

Prague3Today was a gorgeous 90° day it in Prague.  We begin our morning with a guided tour of the city – visiting the castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, and walking down the hill and across the Charles Bridge into the town Square to see the astronomical clock chime at 11:00 this morning. After a short break for lunch and a little bit of souvenir shopping we headed back to the hotel for a rest before our afternoon rehearsal and evening concert with the Jitro girls choir.

 

 

 

Prague1The concert was amazing and the church acoustics glorious. The Jitro choir is excellent and premiered a new piece tonight with the composer in the audience. About 150 people attended the concert and the church was full.  Our students gave a perfect performance and loved singing two joint pieces with the Jitro choir – one in Czech and the other in English. It was a joyous evening and our singers were beaming throughout the concert! What a lovely opportunity to share our music and meet other young people who love to sing as we do.

 

 


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After the concert we enjoyed a delicious dinner in Prague and headed back to the hotel. The students have packed their bags and are ready to leave bright and early for Munich tomorrow!

Europe Tour 2015: Update #2

This morning we left Leipzig after an incredibly delicious European breakfast at the hotel.

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The drive to Dresden took about two hours and we were met by a city guide who took us all around the city explaining the rich cultural heritage and history. Eighty percent of the city was destroyed in the bombing at the end of World War II but fortunately all the major cultural and historical buildings have been rebuilt. Most of the rebuilding has happened since the fall of the Berlin wall.  Dresden is now a major tourist attraction and they are building a new symphony hall in the middle of the city.

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We saw the opera house where Wagner conducted and took some group pictures and then proceeded to see the Zwinger museum grounds which are beautifully landscaped with fountains. There are over 600 fountains in the city of Dresden.  We also saw the beautiful Cathedral which has been completely rebuilt with 80% of the cost covered by donations from around the world.  The guide told us some stories of what it was like to grow up under the communist regime in comparison to today.  All of us appreciate the freedoms in America much more after hearing what life was like under communism in East Germany before reunification.

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The students had some free time mid-day to have lunch and shop in Dresden and then we boarded the bus for the 2.5 hour drive to Prague. The skyline of the city is stunning!

 

 

After dinner in the hotel we are ready for a good rest and look forward to our concert with the Jitro girl choir tomorrow!

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