Press & Blog

LAB XII starts, with a special mission

Monday, September 8th, 2014
We’re back from Europe and heading into our first set of Bay Area concerts pretty soon.  Ben Johns reports on LAB XII, the 12th session of the Louis A. Botto (LAB) Choir, whose special task is to read the works which are the finalists in our Student Composer Competition.  The winning composition will be performed at our National Youth Choral Festival in March.  The deadline for entries is November l, but there are quite a few in so far, so LAB XII is starting to look at them.
Ben:  Saturday marked the start of LAB XII.  All but one of the 15 LAB XII singers participated in the most recent Skills/LAB last month.  The mission of LAB XII is to learn, workshop, and perform the first round finalist compositions for Chanticleer’s Student Composer Competition. here will be a second round of finalists out of those we receive between today and November l .  Here are the finalist compositions we have so far,  and the students who composed them:

“Kyrie” by Julie LeDuc.  Julie studies at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
“Like an Eagle” by Spencer Robelen. Spencer attends the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.
“Lullaby for Sleepless Nights” by Jihyun Kim.  Jihyun is enrolled in the Masters of Music program at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
“Misty Sunrise” by Yie-Eun Chun.  Yie-Eun is a doctoral student at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
“Morning Psalm” by Kari Betton.  Kari is a Master’s student at Columbia College Chicago.
“O, My Soul” by Ronald Harris.  Ronald is a sophomore at the University of North Texas at Denton.

In October, these composers will have the opportunity to workshop their compositions with LAB XII.

It’s particularly exciting to be singing a piece of music which has never been sung before – and even more exciting to talk with the composer!  After reading through each piece on Saturday, we talked about what we liked about the work and what we found challenging.  For some works, the music takes shape right away.  We can gain immediate access to artistic ideas embedded in the piece and intuitively express them.  For other works, the evolution will take more time, but we can see what lies ahead.  Either way, the exploration process is fun.  And since there aren’t any reference recordings, this kind of music making has a certain purity to it.


Last concert of this European tour, in Vercelli, Italy

Saturday, August 30th, 2014
Great time tonight in the Civic Theater of Vercelli, midway between Milano and Torino, for an effusive and attentive audience. The Civic Theater is like a miniature opera house, and featured a raked stage – a rarity for us. Vercelli – unlike everywhere else we’ve been – is not a vacation spot. (It is famous for risotto which we had some of at our pre-concert dinner.) These were people who live here, and others from around the Piemonte region, including lots of choral singers. They were wonderful, and just didn’t want to stop clapping. Hope we can come back! For now it’s San Francisco tomorrow where we have a month before heading back to Europe for a 3 week tour of Sweden.





Bolzano, Italy

Friday, August 29th, 2014
You could hardly be having a more fantastic experience of Italy than we are. Hard to imagine that yesterday morning we were in beautiful Ravello, and tonight found us in the beautiful Italian Tirol at the Castle Tirol performing for the Meraner Festwochen. Too bad we couldn’t photograph the castle as we drove up a very steep and windy road to get to it – totally spectacular. The concert was in a rectangular room holding about 300 people with views of the surrounding countryside. Seemed to be an audience full of people who know us – the program went very well, and we did two encores so that the stamping wouldn’t bring down the old building. As we started Swing Down Sweet Chariot, thunder and lightning broke out which was very dramatic indeed.







Ravello, the Amalfi Coast Italy

Friday, August 29th, 2014
For some of us it was our first look at Italy, and for almost everybody the first time in the south. Certainly Chanticleer’s first time this far south in Italy. After our lovely first days in Salerno we drove over a very windy and hilly road to Ravello where our hotel had a spectacular view. Ravello itself is justifiably legendary ; we had some time to enjoy sightseeing, soaking up sun, and appreciating our luck! Cortez, Michael and Matthew even made a mad dash to Capri on the morning of our departure. We performed for the Ravello Festival in their auditorium over looking the sea, and moved with our Italian travelogue on the next morning to Merano, in the Tirolean part of Italy.











What we do with our free time, Part 2

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Today we found ourselves free until 6pm to enjoy the beauty of the Amalfi Coast, the sea, the food, the sunshine, and we did. It was one of the best days ever.