Monthly Archives: March 2015

Violins and Voices Reflections:

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to the success of our annual Violins and Voices performance.  Family and friends from both CCSA and YOSA came together to support the youngest musicians of both organizations in an evening of incredible music making. IMG_4364

In keeping with this semester’s “fiesta theme”, CCSA’s Junior Chorus began the concert with high energy performances of Sosa’s, “El Cielo Canta Alegria”, and “Cantad al Senor” by Ziegenhais.

The audience was then treated to Jacobi Caldwell’s work with YOSA’s Prelude strings. The hard work of these young musicians was evident in their wonderful performances Caponegro’s arrangement of Shubert’s, “The Trout”, and Bob Phillips’ “Bass-ically Bluegrass.” The latter clearly an audience favorite.

YOSA’s Capriccio ensemble then took the stage with much excitement and enthusiasm, a disposition reflected in their director, Jonathan Raveneau. They performed Ahlan Sabaya Alfarah – a thrilling traditional Arabic dance arranged by K. Sarch and Mozart’s Divertimento No. 2 in D Major arranged by S. Dackow. These musicians are to be commended on their progress and quality performance.

The final part of the concert featured the Junior Chorus in collaboration with select musicians from other YOSA orchestras. Francisco Nunez’s “Three Dominican Folksongs”, under the direction of LeeAnn Valcarcel, evoked the rich and spirited culture of Latin America.  IMG_4368

Chalon Murray then led the musicians in Benjamin Britten’s “Psalm 150”.  Its tonality and changing meter marks this piece as the most difficult work the Junior Chorus has learned this season.  One patron commented, “Their mixed meter was amazing! I’m so impressed with how well they handled that. Great job!” IMG_4372

We look forward to seeing all of you throughout the rest of the season.  Be sure to get your tickets for Fiesta in Song, May 3rd at the Tobin Center where we will be announcing our new Artistic Director.  Our students will also be collaborating once again with YOSA and several other San Antonio choirs in a performance of Carmina Burana on May 17th. Please check our calendar for other planned events!  And once again, thank you for your continued support of our musicians!

Photos and post: Darian Thomas


An Afternoon with Nick Page!

We can't wait to share this experience with you!

We can’t wait to share this experience with you!

What is it like to experience an afternoon with Nick Page? It’s like attending the greatest performance on the planet. Except that you are no longer just an audience member – you and many other equally amazed people will be making the magnificent music. As an added bonus, the Pro Music Chorale on tour from Monterrey will be joining us for this performance! Come share this experience with us at Coker United Methodist Church on Sunday March 15th!

Nick Page is a Boston-based song leader, composer, and author who is dedicated to teaching people of all ages that they are capable of great miracles through the simple yet powerful, act of singing. He is the founder and Artistic Director of The Mystic Chorale, and works extensively with children and with educators (both classroom teachers and music specialists). He began leading sing-alongs for people of all ages, and traveled across North America leading what he calls “Power Sings” with adult groups, elementary, junior high, and senior high school students as well as at many colleges. He also began to incorporate the cultural styles of many traditions in his compositions, sometimes using elements from two or more traditions in the same piece.


The choir members of our Youth Academy, Junior Chorus, Project Sing and our guest choir from Monterrey, under the direction of Flora Rivera, will also be assisting Nick in leading and teaching the audience various songs. And remember: there’s no experience necessary to be a part of this audience! Come as you are with friends (as they are) and participate.

Here’s an excerpt from a story by Mr. Page himself about the loose nature of singing events that he’s used to: “A pitchpipe would be most unwelcome.   Someone establishes a pitch and everyone struggles to find the first pitches for each part. They then start to sing the song, soon realizing it’s either too high or too low.   They tend to sing everything very low, so the basses are in an uncomfortable range but everyone else is as happy as a clam.   I’m a trained choral musician, a fact that a few there know.   I try to stay out of the process of choosing the key.   But if they ask, I give them the perfect pitch to start on, never in the key it is written in.” (Shapenote Singing at Bread and Puppet, )

There will be a multitude of songs learned and performed, all followed by a combine performance of “Give Us Hope” by Jim Papoulis. This song was performed at the Bernstein MASS concert we recently had, and if the clapping along of the audience was any indication of how good this song feels then we’re sure no one will have any problem joining in with singing as well!


Who: The Children’s Chorus of San Antonio, Pro Music Chorale, and Nick Page

Cost: FREE admission

When: Sunday March 15 | 3:00pm

Where: Coker United Methodist Church, 231 E North Loop Road, San Antonio, TX 78216

We can’t wait to see you there!

A Reflection on Bernstein’s MASS

On February 22nd we had the privilege of joining The St. Mark’s Choir, Daniel Mutlu, and Dr. Doreen Rao to present Bernstein’s Mass to a full and eager audience. The concert began with a short set songs featuring CCSA, all of which put the audience in a really good mood – as was proven by the clapping along during Give Us Hope by Jim Papoulis. After all, how could one not be in a good mood when listening to a vocal arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango?

Getting the audience involved!

Getting the audience involved!

Once that portion of the fun was done, it was time to tackle the 15 movement Bernstein MASS. For the remainder of the concert we pulled out all the stops – The St. Mark’s Choir, CCSA, instrumentalists and an organist joined us on stage for this magical work. And magical it was: there were many moments of intensity (such as that incredible opening Soprano solo, sung beautifully by Ana Hernandez),

Ana Hernandez' solo at the beginning of MASS was gripping - and exhilarating!

Ana Hernandez’ solo at the beginning of MASS was gripping – and exhilarating!

levity (lyrical jokes reminiscent of Candide executed perfectly by our tenor soloist Daniel Mutlu), and the theatrical nature of the work kept the audience glued to the performance.

One could feel the collective appreciation of being able to experience such a talented group of performers who cared so much about their performance.

The beauty of St. Mark’s historic sanctuary served to enhance the quality of the whole event.

Once the piece finished, there were a few seconds of reverent silence. But as soon as the clapping started, audience members instantly rose to their feet and cheered. Afterwards one could hear murmurs of wonder and appreciation from the crowed and choristers alike – everyone knew that they were fortunate to catch a performance like this.

The closing moments of MASS were beautiful.

The closing moments of MASS were beautiful.

Here are a few remarks from those involved:

“Wanted to tell you how much the concert meant to me. Everyone who was alive at the time has their memory of President Kennedy’s death. I was in grad school in Dallas at the time. The sounds, going down town…all left strong impressions. I hadn’t even thought of that until almost at the end of the program and suddenly the images and memories came back. It was quite an experience. After that I lost all sense of the concert as an “artistic event” and was caught up in my own thoughts and feelings. But then, isn’t that what we try to do with art?” – Ric Slocum (audience member)

“It was a wonderful experience to collaborate with CCSA and Doreen Rao.  Dr. Rao’s passion for music was contagious and brought new life to the meaning of singing together as a community.” Joseph Causby (Music Director of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church)

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience - can't wait to see you at the next event!

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience – can’t wait to see you at the next event!

Luckily for everyone, this won’t be the only awe inspiring experience from CCSA! We still have some spectacular events left in our season – like our Nick Page concert, Carmina Burana with YOSA and so many other choruses, and our final concert on May 3rd!

Make sure to come and join us – you won’t want to miss any of the work we’re doing!

All Photography by Patrice Oliver.

-Darian Thomas