When Francisco Nuñez was growing up poor and lonely in Washington Heights – and his best friend was a second-hand piano – he wondered what it would be like to have lots of friends, from all different backgrounds.
Thanks to him, 225 kids are finding out each year.
As members of the Young People’s Chorus of New York, the kids – ages 8 to 18, from all over the city – are singing together in perfect harmony.
Kind of like that old Coke commercial, only without the soft drinks.
You can catch the group’s Concert Chorus tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y, when they sing works in Spanish, French, Estonian, Czech and English.
“I’ve always dreamed of creating a chorus of kids in all colors,” says the 36-year-old Nuñez, whose family is Dominican.
He started the chorus 12 years ago, when he was working at the Children’s Aid Society. The singers are divided into five divisions, mostly by age. To date they’ve sung at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the White House.
For Nuñez, who wasn’t allowed to play in the streets and holed up with his piano instead (“There were no computers back then”), the chorus is a dream come true.
Tomorrow’s concert features “Misa Pequeña,” a small Spanish Mass Nuñez wrote when he was 15, after his father died. There’s also a piece by Walter Thompson that involves “sound painting” – including whistles, cries and screams the singers improvise based on their conductor’s signals.
For tickets ($17.50 and $10 for students, $20 to $50 for adults) visit the box office at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue or call Y-charge, (212) 415-5500.
Then again, maybe you want to join the group yourself – the chorus will soon hold auditions. For more information, call (212) 415-5579 or visit http://www.ypc.org.