Four High Schools attended our annual Youth Choral Festival today, held for the first time at the San Francisco Conservatory right near our office. It was the largest ever in terms of attendance - 284 students from four schools.   Ukiah came the furthest - leaving at 7.45 am to get here, Napa and Palo Alto High Schools, and San Francisco's School of the Arts. Something new was that  Vance George ( Music Director Emeritus of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and advisor to our LAB Choir) joined us to rehearse and conduct the tutti pieces, as well as offering sessions with the visiting Choir Directors.

Many members of our LAB Choir were on hand to help out, greet, direct traffic, stage manage, and greet donors at the reception. Three members of LAB 5 are in the Palo Alto High School concert choir; they did double duty all day.  They also gave the concert a very lively opening and sang the day to a close after the reception.  ( keep reading.)  We really appreciated their being with us today.  Here, at 9am,  they get their marching orders from Ben Johns, Chanticleer Education Director and Director of the LAB Choir.

There were several nice familial things today:  Napa High School is the alma mater of new Chanticleer soprano Kory Reid, whose Choir Director Travis Rogers came today with his concert choir.  Kory's first exposure to Chanticleer was in 2002 - at this very Youth Choral Festival!

To get the day started, and before warmup we sang  Eric Whitacre's "This Marriage."


Then we all get to work with Vance rehearsing the tutti numbers which the visiting choirs have rehearsed in advance.  Gregory and Michael were the pianists, as the Brahms Liebesleider Walzer and German Requiem are accompanied.

We have lunch with the choir directors after hearing their choruses.  After lunch we split up and go work with the individual choruses on the songs they have brought for the concert.

SF School of the Arts - whose director is former Chanticleer tenor, Todd Wedge.

Ukiah High School directed by Denise Doerling.

Palo Alto High School directed by Michael Najar, assisted by Monica Covitt

Napa High School directed by Travis Rogers.

Lunch had offered, as always, a chance to know the Choir Directors better and to hear more about how it's going for them  in the public schools.

Kory works with his old choir, Napa High School ( he sang tenor with them) along with Alan and Ben.

Brian, Matthew and Casey with Palo Alto High School

Eric, Cortez and Matt Curtis with SOTA

Gregory, Michael and Adam with Ukiah.

Another rehearsal of the two Brahms pieces with Vance went until 5.30pm, everybody successfully combatting mid-afternoon fatigue to enable Vance to achieve things at the concert which he hadn't been able to do during the rehearsals.  Thanks for sticking in, everybody!

LAB 5 opened the concert with their Piazolla tango, and then the mini-opera "Italian Salad" which got the concert off to a lighthearted yet very impressive start.  


Then all the choirs sang the numbers they had sung earlier in the day and on which we had worked together.  Then us

We sang de Vivanco, R. Strauss, Duke Elington and Freddy Mercury's "Somebody to Love" and then enjoyed the best ovation we get all year!

A reception for donors followed, attended by a number of our Board members among others.  LAB 5 came along, then just had to sing one more time, in the stairwell,  before we all left. They sang "Deep River" and then Casey and Eric joined them for "Ubi Caritas."

It was a great day, one of our favorites in the year, when we get to enjoy seeing future generations of singers coming up behind us.   Maybe there was a future Chanticleer member in today's group ( as Kory was l0 years ago.)  At least we know these students are going to keep singing all their lives, and that's a good thing.  Thanks to them, their teachers, our supporters and Vance for a successful day. We're doing it again on Friday for Middle School Choruses.  See you then.

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