Young voices from the Phoenix area on 89.5 K-Bach! April 14th’s From the Top program at 7:00pm was recorded live at the Mesa Arts Center on February 19th. Performers from the Valley of the Sun included the Phoenix Children’s Chorus, which has members ranging from eight to eighteen years of age. The Phoenix Children's Chorus has grown from one group of just 35 members, to its current seven choirs, with over 300 children.
K-Bach's Janine Miller, caught up with Phoenix Children's Chorus artistic director, Ron Carpenter:
Congratulations to the Phoenix Children’s Chorus for your upcoming performances on the national radio program, From the Top! What was the process you went through in order to be considered for the show, which was recorded at the Mesa Arts Center?
This process came about after we were contacted by From The Top. The show was in need of a choir to perform a piece that was composed by a high school student in Colorado. They asked if we were interested. When we said yes we were they asked us to send in recordings of the choir to insure the quality of the group. After I sent them several recordings of the choir, they contacted me and asked if we could perform the piece written by Trey Parnell as well as another piece. I was very happy that we were asked to perform on the show.
It seems like there are always cutbacks in school arts and music programs. Has that been a challenge in finding enough talented kids to participate in the Phoenix Children’s Chorus?
Yes it's true that there have been substantial cuts in funding for arts education in our public schools. This however has not made it more challenging for us to find talented students to participate in The Phoenix Children's Chorus. We have students who participate in our program for many reasons. Some students don't have the opportunity to sing at school. Others sing in great programs and simply want to take their music studies further. Still others have band or orchestra at school and can't fit singing into their schedule due to the increased requirements for students for graduation.
The Phoenix Children’s Chorus has a very impressive lineup of where they have toured and performed, including Europe, Russia, Canada and China. Do the children seem to understand that they are ambassadors of the arts…and also of the United States when they visit these countries?
Our students are taught about how they represent our city, state, and yes even our country each time the put on the Phoenix Children's Chorus uniform and perform. It is such a joy to watch students participate in something meaningful that has such a dramatic impact on their lives of which they can really be proud. I know that if the public saw the way in which our students represent our country, they would be very proud.
How does a parent go about having his/her child audition for the Phoenix Children’s Chorus?
Auditions for the Phoenix Children's Chorus are held each spring for the following season. We serve nearly 350 families in seven different choirs in our downtown location and our satellite program in the East Valley. Students are eligible from 2nd through 12th grade. Parents and students can find out more about our upcoming auditions by visiting our website at pcchorus.org. No experience is necessary and we have a place for any student who can match pitch and has the desire to learn.
Performers and repertoire:
Clarinetist Austen Yueh, 16, from Scottsdale, AZ performs IV. Molto Allegro from the Sonata in E-flat for Clarinet and Piano, Op.167 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Cellist Jangwoo "Peter" Eom, 17,from Gilbert, AZ performs III. Allegro Molto Vivace from the Sonata for Solo Cello, Op.8 by Zoltán Kodály
Violinist and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Adé Williams, 15, from Chicago, IL performs IV. Presto agitato from the Sonata No.3 in D minor for Violin and Piano, Op.108 by Johannes Brahms
Pianist Christopher Richardson, 14, from Danville, CA performs III. Allegro con brio, ma non leggiere from Sonata No.4 in C minor, Op.29 by Sergei Prokofiev
The Phoenix Children's Chorus performs "O Captain! My Captain!" by composer Trey Parnell, 17, from Denver, CO
The Phoenix Children's Chorus performs "Angels Watchin' Over Me," trad. spiritual, with additional words and music by Greg Gilpin, accompanied by Lori Woods, piano.