The Educator Insider
News and notes for music educators from Madison Youth Choirs | November 2017
As partners in music education for area youth, we hope you will enjoy this brief newsletter designed to keep you informed of programming provided by Madison Youth Choirs as well as provide a peek inside our educational process. We're grateful for the opportunity to broaden our connections with area music educators who share our passion for the art of teaching young people!
Introducing our Winter Concert Theme:
Sister Cities

This fall, MYC singers are embarking on a musical journey across the globe as we explore and perform compositions connected to the diverse cultures of Madison's nine sister cities: Ainaro, East Timor; Arcatao, El Salvador; Camaguey, Cuba; Freiburg, Germany; Kanifing, The Gambia; Mantua, Italy; Obihiro, Japan; Tepatitlán, Mexico; and Vilnius, Lithuania. Here are some of the questions we are pondering: 

What is the function of sister cities? How might a city benefit from this relationship? In what ways does music function like a "sister city"?

Here we take you on a mini tour inside the rehearsals of our performing choirs to highlight the great connections our young singers are making to our sister cities, to the repertoire they are studying, and to each other.

Our high school women's choir, Cantabile, is exploring a short sacred piece by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), who served at the court of our sister city Mantua (Mantova) Italy. We're discovering the breadth of his compositions, getting a sense of the defining characteristics of music from the early Baroque, and marveling at the compositional prowess of Monterverdi, who wrote this musical setting at the age of 15! 

The high school men of Ragazzi have been studying a a short sacred piece by Salamone Rossi (1570-1630), a Jewish composer who, like Monteverdi, also served at the court of our sister city Mantua (Mantova), Italy at the end of the 16th century. We've been using movement to experience the forward motion of phrases and to discover the high points of sections of the music.

Capriccio (our choir for 7th-9th grade girls) is learning a piece called "Soran Bushi," a fisherman's song from Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan's four main islands, where our sister city Obihiro is located. It is one of the best-known Japanese traditional folk songs and includes kakegoe (shouts and calls used in traditional Japanese music, Kabuki theater and in martial arts) - sounds used to encourage the fishermen to carry on with their work hauling in the fish nets. The song often accompanies a dance which is taught in many schools across Japan and acts out the fishermen dragging nets and pulling ropes.

Con Gioia (5th-7th grade girls) singers are having a blast singing a Cuban folk song called Guantanamera, to honor our sister city, Camaguey. The lyrics were written by Cuba’s most famous poet and national hero, José Martí (1853-1895). The melody was actually written by a popular radio talk show host who used the tune to introduce his topic of the day! It has become a symbol of Cuban culture and has been recorded by American artists such as Pete Seeger, Celia Cruz and The SandPipers. We have also been exploring the traditional percussion rhythms of this music.

Cantilena (high school women) is connecting with the language of our sister city in Freiburg, Germany by studying Brahms' Liebeslieder Walzer (Lovesong Waltzes), a collection of richly beautiful work that sets the words of Brahms' favorite poet, Georg Friederich Daumer, to music. One waltz has a text that begs for more detail, so we will write our own version of how we think the story might have developed and fill in a few pesky blanks.

As we study the wide variety of musical forms that emerged from these nine regions, and think about the reasons we're drawn to establish sister city relationships, we're examining both the common forces that drive creative expression and the unique contributions that artists of our sister cities have made to the worldwide musical canon.

Spring Outreach Tours 

Our MYC singers look forward to sharing their music with thousands of students and senior citizens each year in a series of school and community outreach tours at a variety of locations throughout Dane County. All nine of our performing choirs will embark on a daylong concert tour next spring (April 25 - May 4), presenting free concerts at over 25 schools, retirement homes and community venues. The host school simply provides a performance venue (with audience!), piano (acoustic, if possible), choral risers (if available), music stand, and a microphone if the venue requires it. 

We hope you will consider hosting one of our choirs! Please contact Lisa Kjentvet for more information if you are interested in scheduling a performance.

8th Annual Madison Boychoir Festival

How could MYC reach more singers in our community? How could we do more than just serve the kids that see us at weekly rehearsals? How can we have a positive impact in creating a strong culture of singing in Dane County?

The Madison Boychoir Festival was created in response to these questions in an effort to increase access to the arts and positively impact the singing culture of boys in Madison. The festival has grown to nearly 500 participants who will be inspired as they join together to celebrate male singing voices in a warm and supportive environment. Registration is now open! The registration deadline is January 26, 2018.

We invite everyone to attend the culminating festival concert, which is free and open to the public. We look forward to seeing many of you there!

12:30PM Festival Concert | Saturday, February 24, 2018
Stevens Gym | Madison West High School
30 Ash Street, Madison 53726

“The Madison Boychoir festival is a critical community project that keeps the arts alive for so many children in Madison and encourages boys to cherish raising their voices in song.”   - MMSD Elementary School PTO President

Introductory Choir Program​

Are your students interested in additional music opportunities? Registration for our spring introductory choir sessions is open! This program provides our youngest singers, ages 7-10, with the opportunity to learn vocal technique, music theory, and rehearsal skills all in a highly active and engaging educational environment.

Our introductory choir program is designed to meet the needs of ALL students, both beginning and experienced musicians. We strive to use music as a pathway to positive self-expression and feel strongly that the benefits of singing in a choir reach far beyond the classroom and the concert hall. Students with financial need are supported through our scholarship program and are encouraged to complete the tuition assistance application at the time of registration.

Classes are offered at two different locations, Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Monona and Westgate Mall Studios in Madison. The dates of our spring sessions vary depending on location, the earliest beginning on Saturday, January 13. Registration is open on our website under the Join a Choir tab. 
Mid-Season Auditions 
Do you have students who are interested in joining the Madison Youth Choirs? Auditions for new singers, ages 10-18, will take place on January 4, 2018 for next semester. Nothing needs to be prepared in advance of the audition. Our conductors will hear singers in a low-stress, supportive environment. We want to find the place for students in our program where they will be the most successful! The audition sign-up is available on our website under the Join a Choir tab.
Please join us!

MYC Winter Concerts
First Congregational Church 
Sunday, December 10, 2017
1:30pm Choraliers | Con Gioia | Capriccio 
4:00pm Purcell | Britten | Holst (boychoirs, Ragazzi)
7:00pm Cantilena | Cantabile | Ragazzi (high school ensembles)

Tickets for music teachers are complimentary. Contact us for more information. 
Check out our website for more concerts and collaborations.