The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), considered one of the world’s leading children’s choirs, has received Chorus America’s 2014 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the nation’s top award for choral music. This extremely prestigious, one-time award is presented annually to an ensemble that demonstrates artistic excellence, a strong organizational structure and a commitment to outreach, educational and culturally diverse activities. Music Director Anne Tomlinson, who studied with Hillis at Northwestern University, will accept the award on behalf of LACC at a luncheon in Washington, D.C., June 12. News of the award comes in conjunction with the chorus announcing the details of its Spring Concert on May 11 and 18, 7 pm, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.
Tomlinson, who served as an intern under Hills from 1976 to 1978, says, “Los Angeles Children’s Chorus is extremely honored to receive this incredible award. It is also particularly meaningful to me on a personal level because of my close relationship with Ms. Hillis, who was both a thoroughly professional musician and a female pioneer in the choral music field. Her approach to learning music and her determination to achieve her goals serve as deep inspirations to me. If LACC and I in some way pay tribute to her ideals of musical and personal excellence, I am ever humbled. To have this award announced just prior to our Spring Concert adds special significance to the upcoming performance.”
In additional news, two world premieres highlight Los Angeles Children’s Chorus popular Spring Concert, which features a vibrant mix of music both contemporary and traditional on May 11 and 18, 2014, 7 pm, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. The new works are by Shawn Kirchner, Los Angeles Master Chorale Swan Family Composer in Residence, heralded as “a major choral composer” (Examiner) who is setting “a new standard for American chorale music” (Culture Spot LA), and prolific Canadian composer Eleanor Daley, noted for her remarkable gift for melody and for sensitively interweaving text and music. Daley’s piece, an arrangement of the traditional French-Canadian Folk Song A la Claire Fontaine, was commissioned by LACC in honor of Associate Artistic Director Mandy Brigham’s 10th Anniversary with the chorus. Kirchner wrote A Mother’s Lament For the Death of Her Son, based on Robert Burns’ poem of the same name, on a commission from Antoinette Adams and Frederic Cohen for LACC’s Young Men’s Ensemble (YME). Kirchner has also set the Burns poem Ca’ The Yowes To The Knowes for YME.
In preparation for its tour to England and Germany this summer, the Concert Choir also performs several works by German composers, including J.S. Bach’s “Bist du bei mir,” a beautiful unison work, the text of which carries the spirit of comfort and peace at the close of life; and Mendelssohn’s Op. 39 No. 2, a striking motet for three-part treble voices. Other repertoire includes Brahms’s Op. 37 No. 3, a demanding setting for 4-part treble chorus with eloquent soprano and alto solos; “Liebe,” a three-part round in praise of music by Haydn; and Gamelan by Canadian composer Murray Schafer inspired by the sounds of the Javanese Gamelan.
Tomlinson conducts the chorus’ renowned Concert Choir and Chamber Singers. Brigham leads the Intermediate Choir, Diana Landis leads the Apprentice Choir, and Dr. Steven Kronauer conducts the Young Men’s Ensemble. The choirs will perform separately and combined.
LACC’s Spring Concert is made possible, in part, by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division.
Tickets are $26, $38 and $44; children 17 and under are half price. For tickets and information, please call (626) 793-4231 or visit www.lachildrenschorus.org. Pasadena Presbyterian Church is located at 585 East Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101.