Lots going on here in the Chanticleer education world.  It's good to have some time at home to work with Bay Area schools.  We notice more and more young people at our concerts everywhere;  we hope that these programs are making a difference!

Today at our home base, 44 Page Street, we had an Open Door day - when we invite singers and choir directors to come to visit us.  This program was launched a few years ago with the help of the Walter and Elise Haas Foundation, who also encouraged us to reach out further to Albany, across the Bay.  We thank them, as always.

Choirs from Mt. Eden and Albany High Schools spent the whole day with us today.  They started by observing a rehearsal of hours, all clustered behind us and taking notes.  Warm up followed, then each group sang its three selections for us and some invited guests.  After lunch we workshopped each group, sometimes singing with them.  It was a blast!


Meanwhile LAB 7 under the direction of Ben Johns and Bruce Lengacher takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays at Acalanes High School.  We look forward to seeing them this Thursday when they come to 44 Page.  LAB 7 is an elite Chanticleer-sized group, mostly with members new to LAB.  The smaller size of this group allows for a lot of attention to individual responsibility.  The last LAB's 6 and 6.5 were over 90% returnees who have now aged out or gone onto other things, so this is the new crop.


Meanwhile Ben went and visited some Middle Schools in Napa last week.  Here's his report:

I got to spend the day on Wednesday with two schools (four choral groups) in Napa: River Charter School (7th-8th grade) and Stone Bridge School (4th-8th grade).  We had lots of opportunity to discuss the changing voice!  Lisa Jouaneh, who helped out at Skills LAB 2 this summer, is doing a fine job leading her groups at River with a good mixture of repertoire.  It's remarkable to see how much can be accomplished with a new group of young singers in just two months.  Her second choir rehearses in a chemistry classroom - I felt right at home!  At Stone Bridge, we spent more time on general performance techniques, since the choirs haven't had the chance to meet very often so far this year.  I demonstrated snippets of songs to instigate a discussion of how physical presence can communicate meaning and enhance performance, regardless of language.  We then sang the opening line of Silent Night, experimenting with different physical postures: one that was "gentle and calm" and another that was "rockin' and angry" (the students suggested the affects). While the "rockin' and angry" version of Silent Night was probably the most entertaining to perform, it clearly did not match the words or melodic flow. Fun stuff for young singers to experience.