Fifth Graders to Perform Songs About Immigration May 23 & 24

Tuesday, May 23, 9:45 AM & 11:15 AM
Betty Plasencia Elementary School, 1321 Cortez Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Wednesday, May 24, 9:30 AM & 10:45 AM
Huntington Park Elementary School, 6055 Corona Avenue, Huntington Park, CA 90255

Concerts are open to the public & free to attend

The experience of traveling to a new country and making a home in Colonial America are the topics of songs written by fifth grade students at Betty Plasencia Elementary School in Los Angeles and Huntington Park Elementary School in Huntington Park as part of the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Voices Within arts education program.  The songs will receive their premiere performances on Tuesday, May 23 at Betty Plasencia and Wednesday, May 24 at Huntington Park.
The concerts are the culmination of the 12-week Los Angeles Master Chorale program that brings teaching artists—including a composer, a lyricist, and a performer—into the schools to teach students how to tap into their creative voices by introducing them to music ideas such as pitch, rhythm, and melody, and how to apply these concepts to songwriting. The teaching artists and the classroom teacher integrate arts learning with other academic subjects.
A theme for the songs is chosen and the children then collaborate in groups to write the lyrics and melodies for six songs.
The topic for the 50 students at Betty Plasencia Elementary School is “Journey to America.” The resulting six songs are titled “Journey to a New Life,” “Feliz con su Familia,” “Learning Another Language,” “Exciting Traditions,” “One Suitcase,” and “Their Hopes and Dreams.” Teaching artists are Amy Fogerson, David O., and Brett Paesel.
For the 60 students at Huntington Park Elementary School, the topic is “Welcome to the New World (Life in Colonial America).” The songs they wrote are titled “Living in the Wild,” “We Share A Land,” “Everyone Deserves to Learn,” “More Work, More Work,” “Never Seen Before,” and “A New Strange Wild World.” Teaching artists are Alice Kirwan Murray, Doug Cooney, and David O.
For the performances, eight members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale will join the students singing on stage. Audiences for the performances include a student assembly and as well as family and friends. The performances are also open to the public and free to attend.
Each year, the Los Angeles Master Chorale partners with elementary schools for Voices Within residencies with concerts in the Fall and Spring. In November, culminating performances were presented by students at Carlos Santana Arts Academy in North Hills and Sheridan Street Elementary School in Boyle Heights. Additionally, Voices Within includes an Oratorio Project that engages high school students to compose a full-length oratorio and then perform it. This year’s oratorio was about Japanese-American incarceration camps during World War II and the resulting work called In America by Van Nuys High School students was featured in a nationally-broadcast PBS NewsHour story.
The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s education programming also includes the annual High School Choir Festival that brought 1,000 student singers to perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall in April. For the first time, this concert has been made available to stream online at
Voices Within is an educational artist residency program developed for the Los Angeles Master Chorale by Marnie Mosiman in collaboration with Bernardo Solano, Penka Kouneva, David O., and Doug Cooney. The first residency was held in 2000 and the program has subsequently been awarded Chorus America’s Education Outreach Award. 

Voices Within is made possible by generous grants from:  American Business Bank, Ann Peppers Foundation, The ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund, California Arts Council, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Employees Community Fund of Boeing California, The Green Foundation, William H. Hannon Foundation, Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation, The Rose Hills Foundation, Lon V. Smith Foundation, Sidney Stern Memorial Trust, John and Beverly Stauffer Foundation, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, and the Walter J. and Holly O. Thomson Foundation.​

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