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OUR Mothly NewsLetter - December 2022

This month’s newsletter focuses on the second part of the Alliance mission:

fostering ongoing professional development of company artists and other educational offerings open to the community.

Youth Chorus - Coro de la comunidad

Holiday Greetings from our Youth Chorus

 "Coro de la comunidad.!"

The "Coro is an integral part of On the Road to Arivaca. Under the direction of Leo Herrera, it has grown in one year, attracting students as young as precocious third graders up through high school and is conducted in weekly after-school classes taught in Spanish and based in the heart of DC’s bilingual neighborhood. Students acquire music literacy skills, learn basics of choral singing, and practice repertoire while experiencing the joy making music and making new friends.

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 Into every new music-theatre project there is an educational aspect integrated into the planning of the process. Nowhere has this been more important thus far than in the launch of the Latino-Latina Youth Chorus, the Coro de la comunidad.

This year members of the coro participated in a summer workshop of Act I of On the Road to Arivaca. On October 13 the coro performed at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design with the professional cast and a small ensemble orchestra led by Angel Gil Ordoñez as part of a conference on refugees and global migration sponsored by EU’s cultural arm, EUNIC.

Participants continue weekly choral classes, learning new repertoire and building a solid foundation of music theory under Maestro Leo Herrera. 

The education doesn’t stop there. Alliance provides opportunities for the chorus members to experience exemplary local music-theatre.

Recently, internationally renowned opera singer Javier Arrey and member of Alliance arranged for coro members to attend Maryland Lyric Opera’s Un ballo de Maschera by Giuseppi Verdi. The “young ambassadors” were invited backstage to meet some of the artists and witness the live workings of opera performance up close.

 

On December 15, the Coro was highlighted at the GALA Theatre's Pasa Nuevo "Best of 2022" show, singing two holiday songs - I'll be Home for Christmas and Silent Night - in both English and Spanish.

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There is an opportunity now for young people between the ages of 9 to 14, who love to sing and like the challenge of singing in two languages (Spanish and English) to join our happy, talented coro.

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If you want to learn more or register, go to Youth Chorus | New Music-Theatre (newmusictheatre.org or call  202-256-7614. 

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Master Class in Afghan Music’s Vocal Techniques and Open “Rehearsal”

As part of the multi-year process of developing its cross-cultural project about the history and artistic achievements of Afghan women, Alliance has offered a series of workshops bringing Afghan and local artists together, featuring dance, music and poetry from Afghanistan.

 In April 2023, Alliance is hosting Afghan singer, musician and educator Humayun Khan to lead a master class in Afghan vocal techniques.

In addition to teaching about the modes and complex scales of Afghanistan’s rich musical heritage, he will lead participants in some classical folk songs and even some of the new compositions from the original music-theatre work, Women of Troy: Voices from Afghanistan.*

 We invite Afghan women living in the DMV, who want to reconnect with their cultural roots to join us as we support keeping the music alive in this free master class. 

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At the end of the class, we will open up the work to a small audience of Afghan and other friends and join Humayun in a demo of what we have learned plus share a handful of short videos Alliance has been commissioning by Afghan filmmaker Airokhsh Faiz Qasary, interviewing female artists speaking about practicing other art forms, including poetry, calligraphy, painting, and dance.

 

Celebrate with us the resiliency and creative artistry of Afghan women as our company members stretch our individual professional capacities and understandings.

* The demo will also serve as Alliance for New Music Theatre February Live & About slot to bring participants into greater appreciation of the process of making cross-cultural music-theatre. To learn more about this ongoing community engagement program, go to our Live & About page HERE.

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Composer Librettist Studio

In 2023, Alliance for New Music Theatre returns to it roots, planning to host a Composer Librettist Studio as professional development retreat for company and other invited artists from our community. A Composer Librettist Studio teaches writers and composers the principles of collaboration, providing to opportunity to practice collaborative principles and, even if experienced in the field, to reflect and self-evaluate collaborative habits.

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Ben Krywosz, Artistic Director of Nautilus Theater Company in the Twin Cities, has been developing the philosophy, methodology, and process of the Composer Librettist Studio since 1984. Since that first studio, he has led dozens of the intensive workshops regularly in New York, L.A., Chicago, and the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

In 1994, the first Composer Librettist Studio was launched in Washington DC, led by Ben and Music-Director/Conductor Henry Holt with collaborative assistance from Designer-Director Robert Darling. These three visionaries plus many artists participating founded Alliance for New Music-Theatre . 

Every workshop is designed as 16-day workshop-retreat where five composers, five writers, and five singer-actor performers come together to work out in teams 5 separate exploratory assignments. Each assignment focuses on one collaborative principle and one music-theater principle. 

Partnerships rotate so that, by the end, 25 new pieces will have been created and all rehearsed and performed in rough by fearless performers in full view of workshop participants. Care is taken so that composers are selected from different backgrounds and identify along the spectrum of diverse stylistic musical languages rom opera to musicals and beyond –plus the space between. Together, participants, by age, culture and experience create a safe space to develop a new understanding of community.

Some writers may have had no previous experience of writing for music-theater per se, but all are stretched out of their comfort zone and challenged to be risk-takers, even pushing the envelope of what music-theater can be. All participants are given a stipend to participate and are expected to participate in all session.

Some of the writers who are alums of the Composer Librettist Studio program include Eric Overmeyer, David Ives, Kira Obolensky, Kelley Rourke, José Cruz Gonzáles, Nilo Cruz, and Caridad Svich.  Composers have included Paul Dresher, Ricky Ian Gordon, Mary Ellen Childs, and O-Lan Jones.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Composer Librettist Studio, contact Susan Galbraith (susan@newmusictheatre.org.)

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