WALKOUT: Past, Present, Repeat, a timely new oratorio written by Van Nuys High School students for the Los Angeles Master Chorale's Voices Within Oratorio Project, was premiered March 1 & 2, 2019 at Van Nuys High School.
The video above documents the making of the oratorio and includes performance highlights.
The Oratorio Project is part of our Voices Within program. It immerses high school students into a collaborative process to write a large, complex work similar to an opera. Students delve into history and culturally rich subjects in order to find an epic story to tell through music. The curriculum is geared towards the maturity of high school age youth and combines elements of music composition literacy skills, and 21st Century learning such as collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
Throughout the semester-long residency, students work in small groups to write the libretto (the story) and create the melodies for each movement of the oratorio – such as an aria, duet or chorus. As groups develop their individual movements, they are mentored by the artistic team to incorporate techniques that capture the voice of the character, propel the momentum of the plot, and paint the mood of the scene. After the oratorio is complete, students audition for featured roles and are coached vocally to prepare for the culmination performance. The completed oratorio is premiered by the participating choir classes to a school-wide assembly and repeated for a community audience. The performance features the choirs, soloists, and instrumentalists who are joined by 8 members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.