“Phenomenal” was the word most repeated by the 72 young singers from Centreville High School in Clifton, Virginia, who participated in a choral workshop given on April 17 by Francisco J. Núñez, the artistic director and founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City.
The singers, from a combined group of students from the five different choirs that make up the Centreville High School Choral Department, were led on their annual spring trip by Lynne Babcock, Centreville High School’s director of choruses.
Francisco took the chorus members through breathing and vocal warmups before tackling “Es Tu Tiempo,” a work he composed for the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 25th Anniversary High School Festival**.
With Ms. Babcock at the piano, several choristers volunteered to accompany the piece: Karsten on djembe, Mary on the large shaker, Peter on the small shaker, and Bree, who played the cowbell.
Francisco also demonstrated and taught the group authentic ways to move when singing the different styles of Latino music featured in the piece: mariachi, salsa, charanga, merengue.
The choristers were all excited by the workshop. Here are some comments:
Marie said, "The workshop was eye-opening, I was especially interested in learning the derivations of the different rhythms incorporated in the piece.”
Kobie, who said Francisco was "A cool guy," liked the high energy Francisco brought to the workshop.
Becca said it was really cool to meet the composer and learn about the different cultures in the song. “When I write something myself,” she said, “I will take what I learned today into account.”
Emmet loved the whole experience, especially Francisco's teaching style. "He was professional, but fun."
Upon leaving, selfies were taken by all.
**To hear the premiere of EsTu Tiempo conducted by Francisco J. Núñez in 2014, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-gDOpS_wqo
Photos by Raj Thomas and Christopher Hall