Andy Metzger, News Journal correspondent2:03 p.m. CST February 20, 2015
Each season, the Pensacola Children’s Chorus presents a concert that shows off its members’ vocal prowess in performing a variety of choral music. This year’s concert is titled “One World, Many Voices,” and will feature all of the organization’s more than 300 singers, ages 8-18, as they take the audience on a musical journey around the globe.
Program selections will feature not only multiple harmonies, but also multiple languages, with pieces sung in English, Arabic, French, Hebrew, Maori, Spanish and Swahili.
“One World, Many Voices” will also feature a very special guest conductor in Francisco J. Núñez, artistic director and founder of the award-winning Young People’s Chorus of New York City. Núñez has achieved worldwide acclaim as a composer, conductor and leading figure in music education.
“I am very excited to conduct the Pensacola Children’s Chorus, a fantastic choir of national renown,” Núñez said. “I am also very much looking forward to collaborating again with Susan and Allen Pote, with whom I have worked very successfully in the past. The music I am bringing to Pensacola not only fits the theme of the concert — “One World, Many Voices” — but also my own mission of diversity and artistic excellence with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City.”
Núñez will conduct six pieces in the course of the concert, including four of his original compositions. The inclusion of these works endows the 2015 edition of this Children’s Chorus tradition with a vibrant and inspiring Latin theme. Núñez offered interesting commentary about some of the selections he will conduct.
“The program includes one of the first works I ever composed — ‘Misa Pequeña Para Niños’ — and two of my most recent works,” he said. “The first of these is ‘Pinwheels,’ a 2014 commission from the Oklahoma Music Educators Association, and the other is ‘Es Tu Tiempo,’ a 2014 commission from the Los Angeles Master Chorale with a message from older children to their younger peers to never stop dreaming, that this is their time, ‘es tu tiempo.’ ”
The esteemed composer/conductor also mentioned a unique song performed to a small audience’s delight during a rehearsal by the high-school-age Young Singers and Echo choirs of the Children’s Chorus.
“One piece that is lots of fun is a one-minute work we at the Young People’s Chorus of New York City commissioned from Douglas J. Cuomo for our Transient Glory new music series,” Núñez said. “It’s called ‘How to Survive in the Woods,’ which is literally about how to survive in the woods. Listen carefully; it may one day save your life.”
Co-Artistic Director and Founder Allen Pote was joined by Micah Roland, assistant conductor for the high school choirs, in leading the rehearsal.
“All the Children of the World” exemplifies the full, rich choral sound to which audiences will be treated and will actually feature all the choirs as the program’s finale.
The Núñez work “Your Heart Goes With Me” will introduce the audience to his beautifully syncopated Latin stylings.
“Es Tu Tiempo” takes things to another level with its variable rhythms, giving it almost the feel of a Latin suite. Rehearsal accompanist Martin Tate had to draw on all his skill, as did those talented teens, but the sound was glorious.
Topping off the rehearsal was a medley of two African pieces sung in Swahili, “Amavolovolo” and “Tshotsholoza.”
Along with Núñez and Allen Pote, Co-Artistic Director and Founder Susan Pote will also be on the conductor’s podium at Sunday’s concert.
“I think what audiences really like about this concert each year is the musical diversity,” Roland said. “We try to incorporate a lot of different cultural influences in this concert, so you’re hearing a lot of music you wouldn’t hear in ‘Showtime’ or ‘Christmas on the Coast.’ ”
Want to go?
•WHAT: “One World, Many Voices.”
•WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
•WHERE: Saenger Theatre, 118 Palafox Place.
•TICKETS: $15, $20 and $25, available at the Saenger Theatre box office, Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Additional fees may apply.
•DETAILS: 434-7760, or visit www.pensacolachildrenschorus.com.