The Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus is presenting what surely will be a harmonic convergence in the community when it brings together five choral groups for one night only, from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, May 6, for “An Evening of A Cappella & Jazz” at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota St.
Three groups from UCSB, an award-winning barbershop group from Ventura and the Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus will be celebrating the human voice in song focusing on the art of a cappella. Between acts, the Santa Barbara Jazz Collective will keep the energy up and flowing. In addition, attendees will enjoy a beautiful art display by the Incredible Children’s Art Network.
The Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus will be raffling off some great prizes, and funds from the raffle will add to the organization’s Scholarship Fund and further support the nonprofit.
Spring 2012’s theme for the chorus is “Think Globally, Sing Locally” and features works sung a cappella — singing without accompanying musical instruments and using the beauty of the human voice entirely for projection and musical entertainment.
Led by Choral Director Erin Bonski Evans, the Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus’ songs in the show will highlight the beauty of our world and importance of conservation. Nearly 20 members of the Concert Chorus, ranging in age from 8 to 14 and hailing from local elementary and junior high schools, will be a part of the concert. Members of the chorus are Joshua Baron, Kara Boger, Isabella Bowman-Andreatta, Angela Delgado, Parker Freeman, Ilette Hill, Finn Huggs, Jasmine Linares, Sunil Madhow, Maggie McCourt, Isael Negrete, Bryan Shott, Madisyn Thomas, Samantha Vargas and Michaela Vehslage.
Executive Director Paul Freeman noted his wonderful experience and the joy he derived from being part of choral groups and musical theater productions growing up. As a child singer, Freeman sang in an all-schools choir, as well as toured and sang with the Golden Gate Boys Choir. He also was in San Marcos Madrigals, Santa Barbara Camarata Choir as well as UCSB Men’s Chorus & Mixed Choir.
“For our students, working alongside these other groups and the experienced staff of the Concert Chorus serves them in so many ways in life,” he said. “Even if a career in music is not what they want, artistic expression, like singing, provides so much for them by stretching the limits of their imaginations. In every session, we have a theme to follow — last fall, it was opera, this spring it’s a cappella, next session might be rock ‘n’ roll — we hope the themes resonate with kids and parents and help form a continuum for the season.”
The a cappella theme of this session is what led Freeman to put together the wonderful lineup of choral groups for this event.
Founded in 2003, Brothas from Otha Mothas (BFOM) has quickly become one of the most popular a cappella groups at UCSB. With their attention-grabbing, upbeat attitudes on and off the stage, BFOM, as they’re affectionately known on campus, entertains anywhere and everywhere that people request. BFOM performs what they call “Brothagrams” for anyone who wants to musically surprise their friends, lovers and coworkers or add a little a cappella flair to their events.
BFOM will be singing A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” Dispatch’s “The General,” Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.” Members are Ian Charbonnet, Connor Greene, Ryan Jacobson, Brandon Kerr, Kyle Leone, Forest McMillin, Mike Newsom, Josh Nkwocha, Brian O’Donnell, Danny Padilla, Daniel Park, David Propp, AJ Rawls, Cameron Steele, Scott Suwabe and Nolan Theurer.
Naked Voices is UCSB’s first and oldest a cappella group and Santa Barbara’s favorite co-ed singing sensation. Founded in 2000, the group has gone on to produce three albums, win several awards at numerous a cappella competitions, and entertain UCSB’s students, staff and faculty, and local audiences with their music.
On their song list: “It’s Amazing,” originally performed by Jem, Incubus’ “Drive,” perennial favorites The Beatles’ “In My Life” and Maroon 5’s “This Love.” Consisting of 19 members, they are Brittany Crowe, Carlos Sefami, Christian Hosler, Christine Buccelli, Danny Padilla, Drew Brouwer, Forest McMillin, Gaby Mercer-Slomoff, Jared Gilbert, Kelley Douglas, Kelsey Michaelson, Leandra Baldwin, Megan Gibbs, Mike Newsom, Patrick Fitzpatrick, Quinlan Fitzgerald, Rachel Culhane, Teresa Andrade and Trevor Mauk.
VocalMotion is UCSB’s only all-female a cappella group. Started in 2003, the group is now in its ninth year and stronger than ever. Made up of women from all majors, ages and interests, VocalMotion performs at various on- and off-campus events throughout the year. Originally formed as a 1980s-themed group, VocalMotion has evolved over the years and now features an exciting repertoire of music from the contemporary pop, rock and R&B genres. Performers include Alex Platt, Angelica Almazan, Ariel Szilagyi, Gayle Schumacher, Julia Marsh, Kirby Welsh, Lisa Gray, Marjorie Pio, Nika Burnett, Simona Morochnik and Wendy Abram.
Pacific Sound was formed in 2000 by a group of men from the Tri-County area, each with a history of barbershop harmony singing. A chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, Pacific Sound Chorus is the current Southern CA Western Division Chorus Champion, a title they have won every year they have competed.
Although they love the close harmonies of the barbershop harmony style, they enjoy performing a wide variety of other a cappella vocal styles, such as doo wop, vocal jazz, modern and even classical music. In 2003 they toured Russia, and in 2008 were in Ireland. The group encourages individual talent, provides the best in musical education, strives for competitive excellence and actively promotes vocal music among the youth of our communities.
Song selections for the a cappella evening include “Great Day,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” “There Goes My Heart,” “Blue Moon,” “Home on the Range” and wrap it up with a medley of songs from the 1950s. Members of Pacific Sound are Kelly Shepard, (Musical Director), Jim Rodriguez, Barry Liker, Bernie Sentianen, Jay Pryor, Brent Anderson, Bill Crome, Karl Johannsen, Michael Murphy, Monty Clark, Verne Arnold, Jim Serdahely, Ken Day, Doug Van Bogelen, Bill Chase, Lu Hintz, Brent Burningham and Bob Lally.
Ellen Rockne with the Wonder Choir will also be on the program as special guests.
The Santa Barbara Jazz Collective is a group of young like-minded jazz musicians who hail from the Santa Barbara, Goleta and Ventura areas. Formed in the fall of 2010, the group has performed at a variety of venues as well as private events and weddings. Members of the group have attended or will attend well-respected music schools such as Berklee College of Music, the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, USC, UCSB and SBCC. Members of Santa Barbara Jazz Collective are Mariel Bildsten on trombone, Harry Swalley on trumpet, John Leonard on piano, Jason Bray on bass and Joe Carrillo on drums.
All proceeds from ticket sales to this special fundraising event will go to toward the organization’s Concert Chorus scholarship program for low-income students. This event is supported in part by the Marjorie Luke Theatre’s Dreier Family Rent Subsidy Fund along with Santa Barbara Bank & Trust.
Advance purchases online are $12 for adults (children age 5 or younger are free), or $15 at the door. A family pack, buy three get one free, are available for $36 online and $45 at the door. Click here to order online. For more information, call 805.512.9840.
— Maureen McFadden is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus.