This was the week for youth choral festivals.  Today we had four big middle school groups - several hundred students and their directors- with us for the day.  Here's what we looked like - us, the four choirs, and 7 members of LAB 5- onstage  for the concert  at First Unitarian Church singing our tutti numbers - Hava Nashira and Little David, Play on your harp.

The format of the Middle School Festival is like that of our High School Festivals - only shorter.  Our final program comes around at about 3pm, after a day of singing and working together.  First we should send a hearty shout-out to all the students for making music part of their lives.  We promise them they'll never regret it.  Their dedicated choir directors also deserve lots of appreciation- Mary Stocker ( Albany,)  Courtney Lindl ( AP Giannini,) Kenneth Koppes ( Hoover Middle School,) and Miao Hsieh ( Crystal Children's Choir.)

Kids arrived by bus around 9.30, then we warmed up and rehearsed our tutti numbers together.  Education and LAB Choir Director Ben Johns conducted.

After the tutti rehearsals, each choir sang its own numbers.

A.P. Giannini Mixed Choir

Albany Middle School Chamber Choir

Herbert Hoover Middle School Advanced Choir

Crystal Children's Choir

Lunch and some letting off steam in the courtyard under the San Francisco sun followed. We had lunch with the choir directors.

After lunch, the heart of the day- each choir has a session with 3 of us offering suggestions about their concert pieces.

Herbert Hoover with Eric, Alan, and Brian

Albany with Gregory, Kory and Matt C.

Crystal Children with Matt K., Cortez, and Ben

A.P. Giannini with Casey, Adam and Mike

As always these days have a family atmosphere.  Board members, donors, and friends come - along with parents of the students.   Former ensemble member Dan Cromeenes acted as accompanist, and reunited with old colleagues.

Seven members of LAB 5 did all kinds of things, from bringing cookies, to greeting students, observing workshops, participating in tutti numbers, and offering a little serenade before the concert.

We all felt good about the day and about the concert.  We hope the students and choir directors did too, and we hope we see them again soon.