Closing Concert on March 30th will feature Chanticleer and 300 student singers from all over the country singing Lars-Erik Larsson's "God in Disguise" conducted by Ragnar Bohlin, and world premiere of "Birdsong" by world-renowned mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick.

Called “stunningly expert” by the New Yorker, Chanticleer took its extensive nationwide education program to new heights with its first The Signing Life - National Youth Choral Festival™ in 2010 in San Francisco. The second festival, March 26-30, 2015, brings together ten high-school choirs, comprising 300 student singers from across the country: five choirs from the Bay Area and five traveling from as far away as Westport, CT; Knoxville, TN; and Aurora, IL. The four-day choral immersion will place the visiting choirs and directors in close, intensive interaction with members of Chanticleer, who will coach them in all areas critical to choral art.


The Singing Life is under the artistic direction of Ragnar Bohlin, Chanticleer's 2014-15 Guest Music Director and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and Chanticleer's Education Director Ben Johns. It also features the participation of world-renowned operatic mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick, as soloist, composer and clinician.


The March 30th culmination will feature Chanticleer and the choirs in a day-long residency giving the choirs the opportunity to perform individually on the stage, and to attend master-classes led by Bohlin and Zajick. That evening, all ten choirs will come together with Chanticleer for a concert conducted by Bohlin, and instrumentalists from the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra in a program featuring the west coast premiere of Lars-Erik Larsson's “God in Disguise”, and the world premiere of “Birdsong” by Dolora Zajick, composed specially for the occasion.


The participating choirs were selected by invitation, all of them having some prior experience in Chanticleer’s international education programs. The gala concert program for The Singing Life will also include winning compositions from Chanticleer’s Student Composition Competition: “Shalom!” by SF School of the Arts High School student, Elio Bucky, and “Journey” by the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater student, Karin Kuulpak. In addition to the world premiere of her composition, “Birdsong,” Ms. Zajick will join Chanticleer in singing Schubert’s “Ständchen, D. 920”, and the festival chorus in selections from Rossini’s “Petite Messe solennelle”. The program also features the combined choir performance of another Chanticleer staple: “Ave Maria” by Franz Biebl.


Ben Johns, Chanticleer’s Director of Education and a member of the ensemble between 2003 and 2006, comments:


“The Singing Life, Chanticleer’s National Youth Choral Festival™, is the most comprehensive and specialized education event hosted by Chanticleer. It commemorates the 15th year of our Bay Area Youth Choral Festival and expands that festival from one day and six participating schools to four days and twelve participating schools. The Singing Life layers activities that are designed for students, teachers, conductors, composers, small ensembles, large ensembles, and honor choirs with interaction with the Chanticleer ensemble. We’re thrilled to be working with special teaching guests including San Francisco Symphony Chorus Music Director Ragnar Bohlin and legendary mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick. We are also excited to include student instrumentalists from the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra.


“Considering how much energy flows through our normal Bay Area festival, this weekend in March is going to be absolutely atomic. It is my hope that this festival will reinforce indelibly the relevance of music education in our schools.”


Chanticleer’s second National Youth Choral Festival™ marks the 15th anniversary of the creation of Chanticleer’s Youth Choral Festivals™, a central component of Chanticleer’s wide-ranging and multi-faceted education program. In addition to Chanticleer Youth Choral Festivals™, which the group has offered in the Bay Area and around the U.S. the ensemble regularly gives in-school clinics and workshops, master-classes for university students, and the Chanticleer in Sonoma summer workshop for adult choral singers. Community Sings for adult choral singers have been given in Singapore, Italy, Austria, and Ireland during the group's tours. Additional Regional Youth Choral Festivals™ will also be held this season in Darien, CT (March 4) and Palm Desert, CA (April 7).


Chanticleer’s remarkable ability to inspire young singers was documented in 2009's The Singing Life – the inspiration for the title of the gala concert at Davies – that has aired extensively on public television stations and is now available on DVD. The ensemble began its education program–originally called Singing in the Schools–in 1986, and with the help of individual contributions and foundation and corporate support, the program has evolved and grown substantially, now including the Louis A. Botto (LAB) Choir, an after school honors program for Bay Area youth between 14-20.


The Singing Life also honors Chanticleer’s legendary bass, Eric Alatorre, on his 25th anniversary with the Ensemble.


The National Youth Choral Festival™ is being funded by generous grants from the Carol F. Buck Foundation; the Osher Pro Suecia Foundation; and Ken Grant and Ed Miner matched by other generous donors.


Chanticleer’s full season calendar and other information are available at







Chanticleer’s Second National Youth Choral Festival™ – the ten participating choirs:


Acalanes High School Chamber Singers

(Bruce Lengacher, Director)

Lafayette, CA


Albany High School Chamber Singers

(Mary Stocker, Director)

Albany, CA


Bishop Amat Memorial High School Chamber Singers

(Jennifer Srisamai, Director)

La Puente, CA


Cibola High School Performing Choir

(Mary Eckert, Director)

Yuma, AZ


Lowell High School Chamber Choir

(Jason Chan, Director)

San Francisco, CA


Mt. Eden High School Chamber Singers

(Ken Rawdon, Director)

Hayward, CA


Powell High School Singers

(Jim Kennedy, Director)

Knoxville, TN


Santa Rosa High School Chamber Singers

(Kira Bombace, Director)

Santa Rosa, CA


Staples High School Orphenians

(Luke Rosenberg, Director)

Westport, CT


Waubonsie Valley High School “Varsity Chamber”

(Mark Myers, Director)

Aurora, IL





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The Signing Life – Chanticleer’s National Youth Choral Festival - Closing Concert

March 30, 2015


Davies Symphony Hall

San Francisco, CA



Tickets: $10-$50

City Box Office