|Elementary Students: "Keep America Singing"
In November 2003, a new arts education program was launched with the help of a grant from the City of Santa Clarita. Called “Keep America Singing,” the program provides fifth graders an opportunity to learn about and experience great choral music through classroom instruction, CDs, tapes, live demonstrations, and free passes to Chorale concerts.
The “Keep America Singing” program was developed and initially administered by Kay Dell, a former member of the Santa Clarita Master Chorale who has taught elementary music education for more than 20 years and who is currently serving as an adjunct professor -- teaching music literature for children -- at both California State University, Northridge, and California State University, Channel Islands.
More than 400 fifth-graders at James Foster Elementary in Saugus, Fair Oaks Elementary in Canyon Country, and Sulphur Springs Elementary in Canyon Country, were treated the "Keep America Singing" program during the 2003/2004 season. The following season, students from Leona Cox, Pinetree, and Bouquet Canyon elementary schools were the recipients of this free outreach program.
The program has been on hiatus since the departure of Kay Dell from the Chorale and while a successor was sought. This season, 2011/2012, Chorale member Alex Nassief has agreed to become the program administrator.
High School Master Classes
The Chorale’s artistic director, Allan Petker, gives annual master classes to local high school music students to help them appreciate and understand major works like the requiems of Brahms, Fauré, Duruflé and Mozart, Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass" and many others, prior to the Chorale’s performances of these masterworks. Using music from their current repertoire, he also teaches them choral singing techniques to improve their intonation and the “blend” of their voices into a unified sound. “It’s always such a pleasure to see how enthusiastically they respond to being challenged, being invited to dig a little deeper and stretch their singing ability,” says Petker.
In June 2000, the Canyon High School Concert Choir was invited to join the Chorale for the final numbers of the Chorale’s ‘Bach to Broadway’ concert, giving the young students the experience of singing with a high caliber adult choral group under a master conductor.
In March 2002, the Valencia and Saugus High School choirs were invited to join the Chorale in a rehearsal of the Mozart Requiem, preparing the students for a Carnegie Hall performance.
In October 2004, the Valencia and Canyon High School Choirs joined the Santa Clarita Master Chorale for a special performance in honor of the grand opening of the new Vital Express Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. The three choirs performed separately and then joined together under the direction of Allan Petker to sing with special guest artist, "America's Tenor," Steve Amerson.
In March 2008, choirs from West Ranch, Valencia and Canyon High Schools, along with members of Voices of the Canyons form COC, joined the Chorale for a performance of “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace,” by Karl Jenkins.
High School and College Internships
High School Internship Program
Now in its twelfth year, the Chorale’s high school intern program provides a special musical experience for selected Santa Clarita high school students who have demonstrated outstanding vocal ability.
Students are recommended by their high school choral teachers and must pass the normal audition process of the Chorale. Once accepted, they must meet all regular Chorale membership standards and requirements. During their internship, they will gain the invaluable experience of singing challenging repertoire with a high quality adult group for an entire concert season.
College Internship Program
Now in its fifth full season, the program draws talented singers from area colleges and universities. The Chorale advertises the auditions at Master's College, CSU-Northridge, USC, UCLA and other institutions of national and international reputation. It has been an exceptional opportunity to draw in the next generation of choral singers: a number of the Chorale’s high school interns have returned during their college years, and a number of college singers have joined the Chorale as regular members after graduating. Both Chorale programs are proven methods for offering musical training and experience to singers whose talents have just begun to flourish.
In conjunction with its March masterworks concerts, the Chorale offers free pre-concert lectures so that its audiences can learn more about these great masterworks before hearing them in performance. Past lecturers have been Dr. Paul Plew, Chairman of the Music Department at The Master’s College; Kenneth Sanson, former music critic, "Chicago’s American;" James Person, Founder and Director of the Anglican Chorale, and Alexander Ruggieri, Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Bach Festival. For the past several seasons, Allan Robert Petker, the artistic director of the Santa Clarita Master Chorale, has been the speaker.