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.