La Jornada – The Children’s Choir of Los Angeles arrives in the country; from him came Billie Eilish

For the first time in Mexican territory, the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), founded almost 36 years ago, arrived with 56 singers who have shown “the flexibility of their voices, with music of all times and diverse cultures.

The LACC is recognized as one of the world’s leading youth choirs. He has been the winner of the 2022 Grammy for Best Choral Performance on the Mahler Symphony No. 8 album by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

It also highlights his presentation with John Mayer on NBC’s The Tonight Show and his participation in the new film concert of his former student Billie Eilish, Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles on Disney+.

Among the accumulation of works, tours, collaborations and acknowledgments of LACC, it also stands out that he was the protagonist of four documentaries by Freida Mock, winner of the Oscar. The material Sing! He was nominated for the American Academy Award.

The artistic director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz told the day that four years after leading the group, it was essential to visit Mexico, where they already had two “endearing” presentations in Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende.

Malvar-Ruiz, an internationally recognized educator who has worked with children’s and youth choirs, emphasized this visit: “It was something that had to change, because the social, cultural and economic ties between this country and Los Angeles are very great. In fact, in the choir we have children of Mexican descent. It seemed incredible to me that this nation had not been visited before, but already with plans they had to be postponed due to the pandemic until the restrictions were lifted.

On this tour, he added, they will also perform at the María Reina Parish, in San Miguel Puebla, with the Coro Normalista of that city and its symphony orchestra (June 23); in the Temple of the Company, in the Historic Center of the city of Puebla (June 24), and the Simón Bolívar amphitheater of the UNAM (June 26).

The choir annually serves nearly 400 children ages six to 18 from more than 40 communities throughout Southern California “through its seven choirs and two beginning levels: First Singing Experiences and First Choral Singing Experiences.”

“normal students”

Even, “depending on the group, the boys can have one or two rehearsals a week. They are very normal children, and I don’t believe in the stereotype that to sing or make music you have to be born with a special talent. Everyone can sing because we are all born with the same instrument”, pointed out Malvar-Ruiz, who is in his fourth season as artistic director, a job he began in August 2018.

In the LACC, emphasis has been placed on the flexibility of sound. “You can’t record a pop music record with the same sound as a Gustav Mahler Symphony; So, we teach that vocal versatility to the singers, which gives us many opportunities. Thanks to this, we have graduate students who have achieved important careers like Billie Eilish or her brother Finneas O’Connell; still others have become opera directors or music producers.”

For example, he said, “We travel to Mexico with three choirs and each one has a different sound. They are combined by the variety of the repertoire: the main choir is that of white voices; then, the one with changed voices, which are children whose voices have been modified and their voice is serious, tenor and bass; the chamber one, which are girls, between 16 and 18 years old, with a more mature sound”.

In Puebla and Mexico City, the public will be delighted when they hear “folk songs arranged for choirs, such as La Llorona, Cute Cielito or Kiss me a lot. In the concerts that we have presented, the reaction of the spectators with these pieces is noticeable”.

The LACC has participated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera, the San Francisco Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra, among others.

He has worked with conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Marin Alsop, Pierre Boulez, Yannik Nézet-Seguin, Michael Tilson, and Thomas Valery Gergiev, as well as performers such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis; in pop, with Billie Eilish, Beyoncé Knowles, Paul McCartney, Josh Groban and in opera, with Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman.

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