FRIDAY, APRIL 21
11 AM - LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE CHAMBER ENSEMBLE | JENNY WONG, CONDUCTOR
1 PM - 1,000-VOICE STUDENT CHOIR | GRANT GERSHON, CONDUCTOR WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL
(Los Angeles, CA) March 15, 2017 - The combined vocal force of 1,000 high school students from 30 Southland schools can be heard in a free concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Friday, April 21 when the Los Angeles Master Chorale presents the 28th Annual High School Choir Festival. The 1,000-voice Festival choir will be led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon in a varied program that features works by this year’s guest artist singer/composer Moira Smiley. Smiley will also teach the massive choir body percussion to accompany one of her songs.
The performance is open to the public and free to attend. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets can be reserved in advance now here. A select number of tickets will also be available on the day of the concert.
In addition to the 1 PM Festival concert, the day will include a performance by the 16-member Los Angeles Master Chorale Chamber Ensemble in Walt Disney Concert Hall conducted by Assistant Conductor Jenny Wong at 11 AM. This performance is a professional showcase for the students and is also open to the public to attend. Tickets are required for this free event and can be reserved here.
First held in 1989 and impacting thousands of young singers in the ensuing decades, the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s High School Choir Festival is one of the longest-running continuous education outreach programs in Southern California. The Walt Disney Concert Hall performances are the culmination of an in-depth, year-long, in-school program that includes intensive teacher training, classroom rehearsals, and masterclasses for students and choral directors led by members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Of the 1,000 students, 100 are selected by their teachers to be part of the prestigious Honor Choir.
Artistic Director Grant Gershon describes the High School Choir Festival concert as one of the most uplifting performances of the year: “There is a joyous feeling in Walt Disney Concert Hall every year when these young singers come together to perform. This concert is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication from the singers and their teachers and there is a great deal of camaraderie and fun as life-long musical memories are made.”
Last year’s High School Choir Festival concert reached a huge international audience when a tribute to Prince, who had died the day before the concert, was added to the program. The students’ moving performance of Purple Rain led by guest conductor Tesfa Wondemagegnehu was filmed by multiple news outlets with a Los Angeles Times video of the performance receiving over 247,000 views on YouTube.
Each year the Los Angeles Master Chorale engages a guest artist to be part of the Festival, increasing the young singers’ exposure to the choral industry’s top conductors and composers. This year’s guest artist Moira Smiley performs with the acclaimed vocal group moira smiley & VOCO that has recorded four albums and is in-demand at both fine arts and folk venues around the world. Two of Smiley’s works Bring Me Little Water, Silvy and Stand in That River will be performed at the concert showcasing her blend of traditional folk songs with choral technique. In June the Los Angeles Master Chorale will perform the world premiere of a new work it commissioned from Smiley that includes a sound collage compiled from recordings created by Festival participants.