A Message From Lisa Bielawa

Greetings SF Girls Chorus Friends! I’m looking forward to being among you next week, but in a sense I am also among some of you already, because I am currently spending long days writing music for our choristers, for future episodes of my hybrid opera/TV show created expressly for episodic broadcast and streaming media, Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser. And yes indeed, that is Laurie Rubin there on the TV station’s web page, who joins us in SF next Saturday October 29 at the Herbst Theatre. We are all excited to have her with us!

Various members of the SFGC have participated in the Vireo project already, all twelve episodes of which will be released on KCET’s website at once for streaming this coming spring. Just a few days after the SFGC season closed in June, Valérie, long-time SFGC member Emma MacKenzie and I boarded a ferry to Alcatraz with 50 other people to shoot Episode 9!

Last spring, Emma won the role of Caroline, the title character Vireo’s mysterious twin sister, and she will be appearing as a principal character in all of the remaining episodes. The audition process was intense, and included girls from all over the state, not just the SFGC. The director Charlie Otte came with an HD camera – it was a combination audition/screen test! Emma started in the SFGC when she was only eight years old, in Level I. She has done so much growing and learning in our community.

Valérie was along on Alcatraz too. Can you spot us in this motley group?  Hint: Valérie and I are just to the left and the right of the sign! Photo by David Soderlund.

Groups of SFGC choristers from 5 to 32 have made appearances in three previous episodes, and Valérie’s presence on the set as a second conductor (sometimes we need 3 at the same time!) has become an integral part of the whole process. At Alcatraz we got the chance to work with six superb singers from our colleague Ragnar Bohlin’s professional ensemble Cappella SF.

Taking a break from the piano in order to say hello to you all, I find myself thinking about how much music has come out of learning communities similar to ours. TheGloria that appears on our June concert, for example, was penned in Venice in the 18th Century by the violin teacher at an orphanage for girls – Antonio Vivaldi. Does being around young people and learning make you feel creative? Inspired? When we are learning something new, do we inspire others around us? If learning inspires creativity, does creativity also inspire learning?

Yours truly, Lisa Bielawa, Artistic Director