Merry December

Lisa Bielawa, Artistic Director, Photograph by Liz Linder Merry December, SF Girls Chorus Families and Friends!

It’s great to be among you all as we ramp up to the festive annual gathering at Davies Symphony Hall this coming Monday, December 7, for An American Christmas. Rehearsals are underway, and they are quite a sight to see, with so many choristers joining together to launch the holiday season! christmasrehearsal

We continue to enjoy sparking new musical collaborations between our singers and luminaries from the greater musical world. Two American treasures—world-class “down-to-earth diva" soprano Deborah Voigt and celebrated composer Kirke Mechem are joining the rehearsal process with the girls these next few days, and the excitement is ringing in the air. I’m preparing for the festivities by reading their respective books, both released in the past year: Call Me Debbie: Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva and Believe Your Ears: Life of a Lyric Composer. Mechem celebrated his 90th birthday this year, and for our young singers, meeting him singing his music is like coming into contact with American music history. Here’s a little taste of what you’ll be hearing from Kirke on Monday!


Both of these memoirs look back to a childhood musical fascination nurtured on American popular song - musical theater, in Debbie’s case, and the Hit Parade and big band music, in Kirke’s. It’s an American tradition within classical music to pay tribute to our sister form, the American popular song.

We see this same fascination in the holiday programming of our future collaborators in NYC. Yes, this year our Davies theme of America looks ahead to our premiere ensemble’s tour to New York City in June to participate in the New York Philharmonic Biennial Festival: Valerie and the girls will be doing a musical exchange with the youth choir at the famed Trinity Wall Street Church, which celebrates the holidays each year with their “Twelfth Night Festival” between Christmas and Epiphany. Here are some clips of their program of Medieval holiday street music, a taste of “popular” music from hundreds of years ago:


[embed][/embed] …and the superb and very hip orchestra The Knights, with whom we’ll be sharing the stage at Lincoln Center, will be performing next week with the “acoustic and roots music” band I'm With Her.

Watch the video of this group of three women singing “O Holy Night.” We recently heard another trio of women singers, onstage with our girls at our opening concert. How are I’m With Her and TENET alike? How are they different? What other trios of women can you think of in American music?

Holiday time is time for us all to share some fun together, no matter what holiday we celebrate (if any!). It’s a chance for people in the “serious” music world to play a little, to connect with the communal and populist energies of Good Clean Fun, an American tradition. I’ll leave you with a couple of videos of some of our collaborators’ forays into Good Clean Fun, and I’ll see you all on Monday night!


[embed][/embed] Until then, Lisa