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A CCSA Special: Music Of The Ages, And The Americas

Fiesta 2015 officially ended on April 26, but the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio (CCSA) kept the bi-cultural celebration going at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, May 3 at their “Fiesta In Song” concert. The program was made up of contemporary choral music of the Americas, including songs by Irving Berlin and Bill Withers, as well as Francisco Núñez and Ivo Antognini. Three sections of Argentinian composer Ariel Ramírez’s Misa Criolla were a highlight—and though it’s challenging music, CCSA Executive Director Anne Schelleng said they were excited to dig in to the work.

“Kids don’t know it’s difficult [music] unless we tell them it’s difficult,” Schelleng said with a smile. “The more challenging and different the music is, the more excited they are to learn it and to master it.”

The performing choirs of CCSA included singers as young as eight, who performed Benjamin Britten’s setting of Psalm 150. “That’s a great achievement for our younger singers to attain a work of that significance at an early age,” Schelleng pointed out. “The tonal patterns are something outside of what they’ve normally heard in their daily life.”

One of the most beautiful melodies from the concert, Ivo Antognini’s 2011 piece, La Mia Stella, was delicately rendered by the CCSA Youth Academy with a piano accompaniment by Bob Brewer. You can hear the performance in the embedded Soundcloud link below.

Brent Watkins and his South Texas Jazz Project will join the chorus next season for a concert that will carry the concept of “Las Americas” further, as the San Antonio Symphony spearheads a citywide focus on the music of North, South, and Central America. “[Watkins] brings a whole new set of rhythm and energy” to the choirs, said Schelleng.

Auditions are currently being held for CCSA placement, although you could hardly call them “auditions.” “If [your child] likes to sing, there’s a place for them in the Children’s Chorus,” she noted emphatically.

Find out about CCSA placement here: http://childrenschorussa.org/training-and-performance-ensembles/

You can hear the “Fiesta In Song” concert on Saturday, May 16, at 7 p.m. on KPAC 88.3 FM and KTXI 90.1 FM as part of our “Performance Saturday” series.

Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.