40 Audition Spots Are Available in Each City 

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK – America’s leading youth choral institution, the National Children’s Chorus (NCC) is hosting auditions Saturday, January 5 at St. Paul the Apostle in Los Angeles and Tuesday, January 8 at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York. There are 40 audition spots available in each city. 

With a set of ensembles in Los Angeles and New York, the NCC trains students from more than 60 schools in each city who meet weekly for rehearsal and musicianship study. In residence at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, the NCC is one of a few youth arts organizations in the world to have its entire concert season presented by a professional concert hall. This is the fourth season at The Broad Stage and the second in New York. The 2012/2013 season is entitled “Traditions,” presenting an eclectic array of musical styles, drawing on American cultural roots. 

The NCC provides musically talented children with first-rate vocal training and an unparalleled musicianship curriculum. Each child, regardless of their educational or financial background, has the possible opportunity to develop vocal skills from the most basic concepts through the college level. Expert instructors work to cultivate tone quality, breath support and musical expression in each student while collaborating as an ensemble culminates in world-class performances at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, St. Paul the Apostle Church in West Los Angeles, and The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York. 

NCC’s artistic director Luke McEndarfer will oversee the auditions along with associate artistic director Dr. Pamela Blackstone. The duo recently led 150 students from the NCC in bi-coastal holiday concerts themed “Candlelight” with world-renowned soprano Lisa Vroman. 

McEndarfer, who is credited with taking the group bi-coastal in 2010 said, “The National Children’s Chorus is the great equalizer for students with vocal talent who may or may not have the financial means or access to music education. Especially in light of public school budget cuts, our program is more impactful than ever as many of our students would have missed the opportunity to explore their musical abilities had they not auditioned and taken advantage of our world-class training and performance opportunities.” 

The NCC offers two divisions. The junior division, for those with beginning or intermediate experience, is offered in Los Angeles and New York for ages five through 12 and the senior division for students with prior music experience is offered in Los Angeles only for ages 10 years and older. 

The junior division consists of the Prelude Level, the Minuet Level and the Sonata Level. This division can audition with little or no musical experience and, if chosen, will have the opportunity to build their skills and gain confidence in encouraging, creative rehearsal environments and two performances per year at St. Paul the Apostle Church in West Los Angeles or The Church of St. Paul the Apostle near Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Junior division students are rated on scales to evaluate the tone quality of the voice, rhythmic exercises to evaluate rhythmic precision, pitch matching to evaluate intonation, question and answer session to evaluate attitude, personality, manners and behavior. 

The senior division consists of the Debut Ensemble, the Premier Ensemble and the Scholars. In this division, students with significant prior choral, musical, solo or vocal performance can refine their skills to the highest professional standards and perform in their own state-of-the-art concert series at The Broad Stage. 

Selection for the senior division is based on scales to evaluate the tone quality of the voice; rhythmic exercises to evaluate rhythmic precision; pitch matching to evaluate intonation, a question and answer session to evaluate attitude, personality, manners and behavior; and a solo piece. For the solo, the applicant chooses a song that best shows the student’s vocal and expressive capability. The piece may be a cappella or with piano accompaniment. If accompanied, the applicant must bring music in the correct performance key. 

A pianist, conductor and voice coach, McEndarfer has been artistic director since 2004 and is integral to all facets of the chorus’ development from spearheading auditions and vocal training, to choosing material, to fostering relationships and securing collaborations with artists and organizations. 

McEndarfer oversees NCC’s extensive curriculum which includes college-level conducting, composition, music theory, sight-singing in the Kodály Method, and individual voice training in the bel canto style under the guidance of Michael Dean, department chair at the UCLA School of Music. Through a holistic approach to educating the total musician within each child, recent graduates from the program have gone on to be accepted at top schools around the country, such as USC’s Thornton School of Music, UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, UC Berkeley, the Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. 

McEndarfer is recognized for establishing the organization’s reputation for excellence and adventurous programming including numerous critically acclaimed interpretations of Poulenc’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, and Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. Forging unique performance relationships, he has also orchestrated concert appearances with a long list of artists and performing arts organizations that include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera Company, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Joffrey Ballet, Josh Groban, James Smith, Lucinda Carver, and soon, Grammy-winning soprano Jessica Rivera. 

His work includes several motion picture soundtracks; most recently on Paramount Pictures’ 2009 feature film Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy. For the film, McEndarfer selected, arranged and conducted sections of the score and also appeared as the Music Teacher on screen. Television and radio credits include conducting performances in the musical act on Jay Leno’s former Tonight Show, and a live performance on KLSX as part of a 2005 Christmas special. 

Contact: Karin Olsen / / 310-497-0052 

About NCC

The National Children’s Chorus of the United States, under the leadership of Artistic Director Luke McEndarfer and Associate Artistic Director Dr. Pamela Blackstone, is quickly establishing itself as one of the world’s leading treble choruses, with nearly 700 students in 18 ensembles, based in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Collaborating with some of the finest music companies in the nation, the group has performed live with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera Company, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, Kronos String Quartet, New York City Master Chorale and American Youth Symphony, among others. Its groundbreaking Season 2017/18, entitled Building Bridges, features exquisite repertoire including notable premieres at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Royce Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. In July of 2018, the chorus will make its 4th major international tour to Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary.
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