Being part of a choir since childhood, says Fernando Malvar-Ruizartistic director of Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), implies several lessons for the formation of children, not only in the musical field, in which they are exposed to creations from many cultures and that allows them to appreciate and respect the beauty of the diversity that exists in human artistic expressions. .
They also learn to work as a team with the same goal in mind. But one of the most important lessons, reflects Malvar-Ruiz, is that “in a choir the goal is to create a voice together; you learn that no one should stand out in a choir. All people are the same, no matter how they feel, different ways of thinking or where they come from. We are all the same.”
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, winner of the Grammy 2022 for Best Choral Performance in the album Mahler Symphony No. 8 of the Los Angeles Philharmonicis on tour in Mexico from June 20 to 26.
The choir is made up of girls, boys and young people between the ages of 6 and 18, something that for Fernando Malvar-Ruiz means that “the sky is the limit”. From his perspective, during childhood “you think you can do everything”, so by giving them a repertoire of great artistic sophistication they are capable of reaching great levels.
Within the choir, discipline is somewhat different: “the word discipline often means punishment. I do not believe in that. Discipline comes from love. If you love your teammates and the music, you will work hard to do your best, without the need for any kind of punishment or threat. I do not believe that the artist should suffer to create”.
Feel the world in a musical way
“My concept of choral music has always been based on variety. We usually associate the choral music with church music, because that’s traditionally how it’s done. It was sung a lot in churches, music was created for it. But choral music is much more than that; At the moment when more than two people get together to sing together, that is already a choir and that is already choral music”.
One of Malvar-Ruiz’s interests is that the children and young people of the Los Angeles children’s choir learn how choral music emerged in the middle of the Amazon, in central Africa, Mexico or in a Detroit neighborhood where gospel is sung. All of that, she explains, creates a wonderful landscape, but it also allows them to access a diversity of styles.
The pop singer billie eilish He was part of this choir and now represents an example of the possibilities that exist for the members. “There are pop music that can be arranged for a choir, and it is good to sing it, because that is the music that children hear, why tell them that the music they hear is not good? It is a musical expression that can be the same as a Mozart work for the church and there is no reason to give more value to one or the other. The important thing is to know what kind of voice you have to use for each piece”.
Not only have figures from the pop scene come out of the choir, such as Eilish or Finneas O’Connell. There are graduates who are doing opera or producers, but there are also young people who later on dedicate themselves to architecture or careers that have nothing to do with music: “our goal is not to create professional musicians, but that they can feel the world of a musically, because it is something that will accompany them all their lives”.
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus will perform today, at 7:00 p.m. in the María Reina Parish, in San Manuel, Puebla; on June 24, at 8:00 p.m., at the Temple of the Company, in the Historic Center of Puebla, and will close its tour of Mexico on June 26, at 12:00 p.m., at the Simon Bolivar Amphitheaterof the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Among the pieces that they are going to perform there is music by Bach, Schubert, gospel, Latin American and Mexican music, and a piece composed by one of the members of the choir, in which she talks about the stereotypes of the city of Los Angeles: “she talks about a city that is very diverse, but also selfish. A city that is not finished”.