Season to focus on music as a unifying force among the students and around the world
The National Children’s Chorus of the United States (NCC), one of the world’s leading treble choirs, proudly announces Season 2017/2018 entitled Building Bridges, featuring a stunning array of musical selections, world premieres and professional collaborations. With a theme of celebrating the students’ music and its ability to forge meaningful human connections, Building Bridges embodies more than ever the organization’s mission of musical excellence, cultural openness and social justice. Led by Artistic Director Luke McEndarfer and Associate Artistic Director Dr. Pamela Blackstone, the NCC’s full contingent of nearly 700 young voices in 18 ensembles will make multiple appearances at top venues in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.
“We are thrilled to present our finest season to date, as the NCC continues its notable trajectory of artistic achievement and organizational expansion,” said Luke McEndarfer. “Our goal is to be a transformative presence in the lives of our gifted students, and our team is truly inspired by our increasingly effective ability to accomplish this objective. It’s such an honor to be a part of this journey, and Building Bridges is very much a reflection of that sentiment.”
The season begins this December as 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 from Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., taking the stage together at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Led by McEndarfer and 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 a new piece by noted film and concert composer, Sharon Farber.
At Winter Dream performances, 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 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 American Choral Directors Association 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.
The NCC will continue to celebrate the holidays with Los Angeles Master Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall as they sublimely sing a selection of favorite carols, including The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus, written by Artist-in-Residence Eric Whitacre, who also will be leading the performances from the podium. The concerts will take place at 2 p.m. on December 2 and December 9.
In April and May, the NCC draws upon the rich history of the nation in a bicoastal concert production called Prism, singing the praises and virtues of human diversity. 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. The NCC, through world and West Coast premieres, will honor the powerfully heartfelt words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, penned by Emma Lazarus in 1883: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” set to new music by acclaimed British composer Thomas Hewitt Jones. At Royce Hall in Los Angeles and Carnegie Hall in New York, Prism offers a season finale like no other, with music designed to connect all audience members in an evening of joy, love and acceptance. Diversity will be celebrated in many forms, with timeless classics and modern renditions, 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 the NCC’s 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.
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.
During the 2017/2018 season, the NCC's eleven Junior Division ensembles in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. take the stage in two dedicated concert appearances: the Fall Showcase in December and Spring Showcase in April and May. 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 five through 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.
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.