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Master Chorale requires many difficult feats

Program makes use of collective unity and individual talents

Posted: January 19, 2010 9:23 p.m.
Updated: January 20, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
I have sung in many different choirs before, but when I began participating in the Santa Clarita Master Chorale as a senior intern this past September, I discovered that a master chorale is something completely different.

The master chorale, I realized, was comprised of contrasting elements: The atmosphere was relaxed yet full of energy, casual yet professional, friendly yet intimidating (for an intern, at least).

By its very nature, a chorus takes the emphasis off the individual.

Being in a good choir is a team effort - the focus is on the collective sound, rather than on the individual.

Our director, Allan R. Petker, reminds us that in order to produce the ideal tone of "one voice," we must actively listen to one another.

When every member focuses on listening to others, a feat far more difficult than it seems, the choir unites into one seamless sound, lifting the music onto another plane.

The musical integrity of the individual members of the chorale truly sets it apart from other choirs.

Petker, an instrumentalist as well as a singer, is a superb director. His sensitivity to the musicality of the chorale is particularly fine-tuned, due in part to this breadth of musicianship.

Petker is also very open to the input of individual members of the chorale.

Many of the singers have an enviable mastery of music, and are able to catch a flat note or a missing rest in a heartbeat.

The chorale emphasizes both the importance of collective unity and the right of individual members to help the body as a whole. With any team, ranging from music to business to sports, the balance of these two elements is essential for success.

Due to the collaboration of collectivity and individuality, our winter concert, held at the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center, was a rousing success, and nearly sold out.

We mastered the Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten and sang it with gusto, among potted poinsettias, before a gorgeous projected background, and accompanied by the divine strains of a golden harp.

Not only did we concentrate on more serious pieces, but we also incorporated fun numbers, including a jazzy medley of several different songs called "Let it Ring, Let it Swing, Let it Snow." Here, again, the balance between formal, classical music and fun, popular songs, facilitates a memorable program.

I am particularly excited for our next concert, "A British Invasion, "on March 21, not only because I am an Anglophile, but also because I know that the songs we will sing will be just as challenging, rewarding and enjoyable as those we sang in the winter concert (go to scmasterchorale.org for details).

I am infinitely grateful to be included in such an exemplary group, and I anticipate that I will be given even more insight into the world of professional music as the year progresses.

Yvonne Eadon is a senior at Hart High School.

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