Hi - Ben Johns, Chanticleer Education Director, here - that's me in the red shirt on the left of Lab Choir 2's first official portrait, taken on Labor Day. We're off to a really good start! It's amazing to me that 22 students from 14 different schools can gel so quickly as an ensemble.

We spent a large portion of the weekend in sectional rehearsals securing notes and cultivating our new identity as LAB 2. Dominick's [Ben's assistant, a composition student at U.C. Davis] role as Assistant Director has been key to the success so far - much time saved by running concurrent sectionals. When we weren't musicking, we were either eating, studying, or playing hacky sack. Already we're producing moments of real music, beyond printed notes....better than the average high school choir. It's especially exciting to realize that this is the beginning. I haven't been this exhilarated and exhausted since the National Festival in March.

The energy and enthusiasm we all share is great. We've been bounding up and down the stairwell for sectionals to save the elevator from breaking. That's one way to stay vocally warmed up and exercise breathing muscles!

Here's a clip of us singing the end of Kirke Mechem's "Island in Space"-pretty awesome for four days work!