Today we had a masterclass with a 12 member group called Raiders of the Lost Art at Southern Oregon University. It was fun and rewarding, as Jace and Gregory describe below:
Jace:The masterclass today was with a group called "Raiders of the Lost Art," a group of twelve singers here at Southern Oregon University. They described themselves as student-run with a little assistance from one of the choral faculty... but they rehearse and perform on their own. They are a 12-member a cappella ensemble focusing heavily on Early Music... sound familiar? We felt an immediate connection to them, and found it both admirable and encouraging that grass-roots ensembles like this are still popping up in music schools today. They performed three pieces for us: two madrigals by Gesualdo and Monteverdi, and a motet by Victoria... three of our favorite composers! (The Siren's Call features works by Gesualdo and Monteverdi, and we are never too far from the genius of Victoria from season to season.) They sang expressively for us, as well as the 100 or so attendees (community members, other college students/faculty, and an area high school choir). We could have spent an hour on each piece--really wonderful stuff--but we chose to focus on phrase shaping in the Victoria and the connection of the Italian poetry and music in the Monteverdi.
Several people in the room told us they enjoyed observing the workshop and learned a lot... which we love to hear. We left the singers with plenty to think about and work on, and we hope they continue singing this music. It's obviously very important to us, and we're happy to see college students devote themselves to it as well.
Even if they hadn't sung well (which they did), it would have been heart-warming to see students inspired by the model that Chanticleer proposed to the world: twelve people in an arc looking into each others' eyes, expecting to find the music somewhere hidden there beneath. The students were smart and eager to show us what they knew, and the masterclass was well attended by people of all ages, both amateur and scholastic.
Some great friends of Chanticleer ( Marilyn and Bill) who follow us -particularly to the Mission Carmel, but recently to the San Francisco Conservatory- and who give us socks every year at Christmas were also present, and it was a bonus to reconnect with them in their own locale.
You can probably pick up some of the energy in the room from the Photos. We're really looking forward to the concert tonight!