Building Bridges, Season 2017/18 of the National Children’s Chorus, heralds a new era for the organization, as its gifted young singers joyfully embrace their role as international ambassadors of peace and unity. In an unprecedented line-up of extraordinary repertoire, Artistic Director Luke McEndarfer and Associate Artistic Director Dr. Pamela Blackstone lead more than 600 young voices across the nation, as "America’s leading choral institution for youth" continues its meteoric trajectory. Following stunning appearances this past summer at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, and St. Cecilia’s Music Conservatory in Rome, NCC students embody, more than ever, the organization’s mission of artistic excellence, cultural openness and social justice. In its 3rd major performance at New York’s Lincoln Center, NCC Senior Division ensembles from Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. come together in December for Winter Dream, rejoicing in music by Randall Thompson, Eric Whitacre, Sarah Quartel, John Rutter and Sharon Farber. That same month, the NCC will perform with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall in two exhilarating holiday concerts, led by Grammy-award winning composer Eric Whitacre. Prism will be presented at New York’s Carnegie Hall in April, and Los Angeles’ Royce Hall in May, celebrating American heritage and the richness of our nation’s diversity. Selections include a tribute to Leonard Bernstein, as part of our partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Bernstein at 100, as well as an on-stage collaboration in Los Angeles with Tonality, a professional chamber choir, led by Principal Assistant Conductor Alexander Lloyd Blake. Remembering the NCC\'s pledge to forge human connections and bring people together through music, Building Bridges will conclude in the summer of 2018, when NCC students begin their 4th international tour in Berlin, Germany, a city once divided by a wall until its 1989 reunification. The tour will continue with additional performances throughout other key European cities, including Vienna, Prague and Budapest.
In December, the NCC proudly presents Winter Dream at Royce Hall in Los Angeles, and also in its first official tri-city event in New York, with the combined ranks of Senior Division ensembles taking the stage together at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Led by Maestro Luke McEndarfer and Dr. Pamela Blackstone, the exquisite musical program pays homage to the beauty of rural America in romanticized wintry depictions, while modern composers set the tone for a future filled with hope, redemption and the eternal promise of light. Sophisticated, contemplative and stirring, the concert repertoire highlights some of the most ravishing works of living composers, including Sleep by Eric Whitacre, as well as the world and East Coast premieres of Yaldei Haor (Children of Light), by noted film and concert composer, Sharon Farber. The Scholars, NCC’s college-prep ensemble, give tribute to Randall Thompson in his classic setting of poems by Robert Frost, comprised of seven country songs, entitled Frostiana. The Premier Ensemble, NCC’s top-level treble group, “one of the finest children’s choirs in the world today," excitedly presents Sarah Quartel’s choral sensation, Snow Angel, with piano, cello obbligato and percussion. Having received performances at prestigious events this past year, such as the ACDA National Conference in Minneapolis, and across the world, Snow Angel makes its Lincoln Center debut with the NCC. Snow Angel\'s libretto thoughtfully explores the themes of love, rebirth and beauty through the eyes of children, and the heavenly army of angels that watch over them. The Debut Ensemble, NCC’s first level in the Senior Division, makes its mark with rousing holiday selections and arrangements by John Leavitt and Wayne Bisbee, as well as Ruth Morris’ striking piece, A Dream Within a Dream.
Additionally, in Los Angeles, the NCC will sing in two riveting performances with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Both concerts, entitled Festival of Carols, will feature music by Shawn Kirchner, Roger Wagner, John Rutter and Eric Whitacre, with Whitacre leading the music from the podium. The NCC will be featured in The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus, a piece in three movements composed by Whitacre, and arranged for SATB choir, children’s chorus and piano. Previous NCC engagements with the Master Chorale have included Carl Orff\'s Carmina Burana with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in 2015, and the boy soprano solo role in Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Disney Hall in 2009.
In April and May, the NCC draws upon the rich history of our nation in a bicoastal concert production called Prism, singing the praises and virtues of human diversity—a concept, sometimes forgotten and admonished, but in truth, one that has uniquely defined our country from the days of our founding fathers. With Prism, the NCC explores its role as the "youthful voice of America"—a nation built of and by immigrants from around the world, unified by an unstoppable vision for a better life. Here we honor the powerfully heartfelt words inscribed on our Statue of Liberty, penned by Emma Lazarus in 1883: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Acclaimed British composer Thomas Hewitt Jones has been commissioned by the NCC to set this iconic text to new music, which will receive its world and West Coast premieres at Carnegie Hall in New York and Royce Hall in Los Angeles, respectively. At Prism, diversity will be celebrated in many forms, creating new musical connections and bringing forth a call for national and global unity. In Los Angeles, Prism features an on-stage collaboration with Tonality, led by Alexander Lloyd Blake, as his singers join our Scholars college-prep SATB ensemble. Music by Leonard Bernstein will be part of the evening’s musical offerings as the NCC commemorates the centennial of the great American composer’s birth.
During 2017/18, the NCC\'s eleven Junior Division ensembles in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. take the stage in two dedicated concert appearances. At the Fall Showcase in December and Spring Showcase in April and May, both taking place in each of the NCC\'s three cities, patrons are invited for an in-depth view of the educational process of the National Children\'s Chorus. From age 5 through more advanced, the Junior Division reflects the building blocks and foundational training methods employed by the NCC\'s youngest vocalists, all of whom commit themselves to the achievement of skills eventually required for promotion to the Senior Division ranks. The intimate and supportive atmosphere of these Showcases makes them heartfelt favorites within the NCC community and beyond!
In June and July, Senior Division students from Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. will rehearse and perform in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary. The international tour for Season 2017/18 Building Bridges begins its journey in Berlin, with the children sharing their heartwarming message of unity in multiple performances along the way to Budapest, their final stop. Exciting collaborations with local artists and concert details for the tour will be announced during the season.
returning from China, NCC Students Inspired to Change the World with
"Peace" and "Love"
The 2016/17 Season of the National Children\'s Chorus (NCC) entitled Metamorphosis
features the organization\'s most extraordinary repertoire selections
to date, including music by Eric Whitacre, Leonard Bernstein, Ludwig
van Beethoven, John Rutter, Paul Gibson, Giacomo Puccini, Giovanni
Pierluigi da Palestrina, Johann Sebastian Bach, Giuseppe Verdi and
Gabriel Fauré, among others. Led by Luke McEndarfer and Dr. Pamela Blackstone,
highlights the NCC\'s superb musical artistry and celebrates the role
of its talented students as agents of change in the world. Coming off
the heels of a tremendously successful international collaboration
with the Galaxy
Children\'s Choir of the People\'s Republic of China,
and debut performances at Walt
Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, Metamorphosis ushers
in for the NCC a new level of commitment to the choral art form as a
life-changing and transformative experience, both for its performers
and audience members alike. Venues of the season include Royce Hall and Cathedral of Our Lady of the
Angels in Los Angeles, as well as Carnegie Hall in
New York City. At its conclusion, Metamorphosis
culminates in the NCC\'s 3rd major international tour to Italy, with
visits and musical presentations in Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome.
NCC makes debut at Walt Disney
Concert Hall, 2016
In December, the NCC proudly presents a holiday concert entitled Peace at
Carnegie Hall in Manhattan and Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in
downtown Los Angeles. The inspiration for this moving program draws
on the human desire for peace, examining its significance throughout
the ages and calling for its perpetual sustenance in our global
community. In Los Angeles, the NCC\'s acclaimed Scholars (an SATB,
college-prep ensemble) will sing Leonard Bernstein\'s Chichester Psalms as
an early installment towards Bernstein/100--a worldwide
centennial festival commemorating the great American composer. The
version performed shall be accompanied with harp, percussion and the
Cathedral\'s majestic 6019-pipe Dobson organ. Other works of interest
include Lux Aurumque
by Eric Whitacre, Hallelujah
(from Christ on the
Mount of Olives) by Ludwig van Beethoven, and Do You Hear What I Hear,
arranged by Artistic Director Luke McEndarfer (world and LA
premieres). Additionally, Paul Gibson\'s intricate and haunting
setting of Dona Nobis
Pacem will grace performances on both coasts, making its
Carnegie Hall debut.
NCC sings at the Cathedral, 2014
In May, the NCC revels in timeless classics from across Western
Europe which have long inspired men and women around the world.
this thrilling season finale is a feast for the senses, weaving
operatic melodies, art songs and folk tunes into a rich tapestry of
sound--all sung with the masterful vocal ability of the NCC\'s most
advanced singers. Thematically designed to explore various meanings
and concepts of love, this stunning and sophisticated program
exhibits music\'s potential to touch the hardest of hearts, break down
walls, and bring people closer together. With an emphasis on
composers from Italy, France and Germany, featuring many of the
greatest hits from the last several hundred years, audience members
will surely reconnect with special memories, as well as dream of new
moments to come. Giacomo Puccini, Johann Sebastian Bach and Gabriel
Fauré are among the composers whose music will fill Royce Hall and
Carnegie Hall as part of this bicoastal presentation. Additionally,
both shows will highlight the premiere of a new piece commissioned by
the NCC, written by LA Phil Composing Fellow Robby Good. As part of
its ongoing collaboration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the NCC\'s
noted Composition Program, under the guidance of Dr. Ian Krouse,
continues to produce rising young stars, with university acceptances
at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, New England Conservatory, Brown,
Northwestern, and London\'s Royal College of Music, just in the last
year alone. This year\'s commission continues the NCC\'s strong pledge
towards new music, mindfully investing in the advancement of the art
NCC performs at Carnegie Hall, 2015
During 2016/17, the NCC\'s twelve Junior Division ensembles in Los
Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. take the stage in two seasonal
concert appearances. At the Fall
Showcase in December and Spring Showcase
in April and May, both taking place in each of the NCC\'s three
cities, patrons are invited for an in-depth view of the educational
process of the National Children\'s Chorus. From ages 5 and 6 to more
advanced, the Junior Division reflects the building blocks and
foundational training methods employed by the NCC\'s youngest
vocalists, all of whom dedicate themselves to the achievement of
skills eventually required for promotion to the Senior Division
ranks. The intimate and supportive atmosphere of these Showcases
makes them heartfelt favorites within the NCC community and beyond!
Spring Showcase in Washington, D.C.,
In June and July, Senior Division students from Los Angeles, New York
and Washington, D.C. will prepare for performances in Italy as part
of the NCC\'s highly-anticipated return to Europe. Visits to many
top tourist destinations are in store, such as the Vatican City in
Rome, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and the Grand Canal of Venice.
Concert selections sung on tour will be drawn from repertoire
throughout the 2016/17 season, with the tour activities reinforcing
and expanding upon artistic, cultural and historical lessons covered
during the year. As part of a new educational initiative at the NCC,
designed to further enrich the international travel experience for
its singers, students of the Premier Ensemble will now enjoy a
dedicated class as part of their curriculum that focuses on the
diction rules of foreign language, as well as insightful exploration
of the country specific to the tour destination each year.
This spring, the NCC enjoyed a magical night under the
stars at the home of Ms. Barbera Thornhill in Holmby Hills,
California. Entitled An
Evening on the Silk Road, the event, honoring
founding member Sr. Stella Maria Enright, had a Chinese theme,
beautifully designed in anticipation of our chorus\' summer tour to
Hong Kong and mainland China. Guests enjoyed a cocktail party at the
main house accompanied with live jazz, followed by dinner and musical
presentations at the garden house, with selections sung by members of
the NCC Senior Division. Silent and live auctions featured many
unique items and rare experiences for patrons, while raising
much-needed funds for the NCC
Scholarship Program. All in all, this was the
organization\'s most successful gala to date, bringing together the
NCC family in support of its educational mission! Thank you to all
who contributed and made the gala possible. Stay tuned for our
upcoming announcement regarding Gala 2017!
An Evening on the Silk Road, Gala 2016
NCC Senior Division presents Exquisite Seasonal
Students Make Historic Debut in Xian
by the Mayor of Xian, NCC sang triumphantly in collaboration with
CCTV\'s Galaxy Children\'s Choir
presents music of the Silk Road at the Xian Ancient City Wall
It\'s not every day that a children\'s chorus is asked to perform at
the Ancient City Wall in Xian, China, let alone as part of a special
artistic collaboration between two countries in a
nationally-televised event. And yet, that is where the NCC\'s gifted
singers found themselves upon arrival from Beijing in mid-July.
Surrounded by more than 1,000 years of architectural history, they
took the stage for their performance and looked into the eyes of the
packed audience (mostly Chinese government officials and
dignitaries). Several students mentioned afterwards at that moment
they felt an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference--to show
that music is indeed a bridge that brings all people together from
across the world, regardless of race, religion or cultural
differences. And with the audience comprised largely of those who
govern and rule, how increasingly important their message was.
The prestigious Tang Dynasty Welcome was used to greet
guests of the performance, several of whom were heads of state and
As the music began, rain started to descend upon the
stage, at first a light drizzle, and then with increasing intensity.
The students sang from one piece to the next, building in excitement
and power along with the rain, their joy unyielding. By the grand
finale, written in Mandarin by one of the NCC\'s student composers
Joss Saltzman and entitled
Chinese Bridge, the rain was pouring down. Production
staff were racing to brace umbrellas over the grand piano (pictured
above), which was quickly filling up with water as the sound of the
combined ranks of the NCC and China\'s state-run Galaxy Children\'s
Choir soared through the stadium. Needless to say, it was a powerful
moment for all who were there to remember--a moment where nothing
else mattered or existed except peace, love and unity.
Members of the NCC and Galaxy
Children\'s Choir make friends at the Ancient City Wall of Xian
"Dr. Pamela Blackstone was leading the finale that night, and as
I watched and experienced it, the rain unapologetically drenching us
all, the only thought that came into my mind was \'I will never forget
this moment so long as I live,\'" said Artistic Director Luke
McEndarfer. "This is what music is all about. At the NCC, we
work tirelessly on tone quality, breath support, intonation,
phrasing, diction and dramatic communication of the text. But it\'s
not enough. Only when excellent musical execution is then taken to
the next level of transforming every person in the room, only then
have we begun to reach our potential as artists."
The trip for the NCC was the 2nd major international
tour for the organization, featuring the combined students of Los
Angles, New York and Washington, D.C. Traveling more than 8,000 miles
from the United States, nearly 200 students, parents and staff had
set out on a 5-city tour of China earlier in the month, with plans
for sightseeing, performances and cultural exchange in Hong Kong,
Shanghai, Beijing, Xian and Guilin. Having just performed Tan Dun\'s
stunning Heaven Earth
Mankind (commissioned for the 1997 reunification of Hong
Kong with mainland China) to a sold out crowd at Walt Disney Concert
Hall in Los Angeles, students were anxious to visit the actual sites
referenced in the work. "It\'s amazing that the NCC coordinates
the tour destination each year to reinforce the things we learn in
the music," said New York student Kayla Judge. "I learn
about it in class, I sing it, and then I get to see it. Both England
and China were life-changing experiences for me."
NCC sings Tan Dun at Walt Disney
Concert Hall, presented by the LA Phil; NCC views Hong Kong by air
just prior to arrival
In addition to the students\' stunning performance in Xian, they also
appeared at the Great Wall of China, where they sang their concert
literature in a free public performance at the site used by the
Beijing Symphony. Locals and tour guests enjoyed an afternoon
performance, followed by a beautiful sunset walk along the Great
Wall. Repertoire included works from the NCC\'s spring season
performances at Royce Hall in Los Angeles and Carnegie Hall in New
York, which focused on music from cultures found along the ancient
Silk Road. Selections from Armenia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Kenya,
India, and of course, China, thrilled the audience (pictured below).
Another unforgettable moment for the NCC!
NCC performs at the Great Wall of
. . . .
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Stay tuned for our
official 2016 Tour Photo Album, which will be launched on our
Facebook fan page later this month!
National Children\'s Chorus is currently accepting applications for
membership in all of its levels for the 2017 Winter/Spring Season
in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. If you are interested
in becoming a member, or if you know someone who is, CLICK HERE to book an