News Highlights 2009-10

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Brooklyn Eagle feature story on BYCA

"It is a rare thing when any child in Brooklyn can become part of a Grammy-winning group based on talent alone.  This is the premise on which Artistic Director Dianne Berkun conceived and founded the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy (BYCA) almost 20 years ago.

From the beginning - more than a decade before BYCA's Grammy for Best Classical Album - Berkun envisioned a chorus that reflected the demographics of the borough of Brooklyn in the broadest sense, from the brownstone areas to its more impoverished neighborhoods. Admission was based on merit. No child would be turned away for an inability to pay."--The Brooklyn Eagle, Click here for full story.

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BYCA Welcomes New Executive Director
"Valerie Lewis joined the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy in October 2009.  Previously, Valerie spent 11 years at the Alliance for Downtown New York, the largest business improvement district in North America.  During her tenure, she served in several positions, most recently holding the title of Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications."

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NY1 on BYC's performance of Lord of the Rings
Excerpts from NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon's report. Full report

The tagline for the 2001 blockbuster film The Lord of the Rings was "The legend comes to life." Now the fantasy saga will come even more alive, when on October 9-10 the complete original score for the film will be performed live at Radio City Music Hall while the film is shown on a 60-foot screen.

Among the musicians and singers will be the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.  "It's just really cool to be able to sing with the film in the background," says chorus member Jake Montagnino.

These young singers recently got some help interpreting the music from the composer Howard Shore, who won an Oscar for the film's score. At a recent rehearsal in Brooklyn Heights, the kids learned to understand the music of Middle-earth.

"To have him here, to hear him describe the work, get to ask questions, have that on one time that they rarely would get to have. Mahler's not around anymore so that's the advantage of working with living composers," says Dianne Berkun, the artistic director of Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

The young singers were also eager for the opportunity. "I've been here 10 years and I still haven't done anything quite like this," says chorus member Kristal Pacific.

"We're getting to go to Radio City Music Hall at the age of 12 and it's just an amazing thing," says chorus member Taylor Boria.

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Wally Cardona, Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY

"If anything had the power to override the boundaries here, it would be the oratorio by Phil Kline (composer of the Unsilent Night boom-box symphony) for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Beginning low and sweet, the harmonies slowly accumulate into an oceanic wave of innocence . But the angelic voices, emanating from the balcony behind us, are too far away to wash over the stage. In lyrics adapted from Kierkegaard, the children sing: "To transform all this distance into one normal step into life is the single miracle." Indeed. -- The Financial Times, Click here for full review.


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John Adams's El Niño at Carnegie Hall
"The choral writing has a particular character as well: mostly it provides ebullient, high-energy commentary on the events described in the solo passages, yet the finale, augmented by a children's choir, affords the score's most serene moments. The Westminster Symphonic Choir and Brooklyn Youth Chorus made estimable contributions, and Mr. Adams drew a solid, passionate performance from the orchestra." --The New York Times, Click here for full review.

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BYC featured on William Brittelle's new CD release
"Called 'a riotous shotgun wedding of rich orchestrations and complex arrangements...irresistible' by The New York Times, the music on the album is fully notated in every regard, featuring ornate string arrangements, epic guitar solos and jazz horn sections all performed by critically-acclaimed musicians/members of The Long Count, So Percussion, Alarm Will Sound, NOW Ensemble, The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Dirty Projectors collaborator Matt Marks and more. "--AllSounds.com, Click here for full review.

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BYC sings "Season of Love" on Good Day NY
"It takes some performers a lifetime of hard work to win a Grammy award. But that wasn't the case for the children at the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The exceptional singers were on Good Day to sing "Seasons of Love" from Rent and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Paul Simon in a gospel-style arrangement. "--MyFoxNY.com, Click here for video.

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The Journal of Voice writes on BYC's vocal training
"This study examines measurable parameters of 20 female students from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy (BYCA), who train for both classical and MT styles of singing.  The study aims to ascertain if quantifiable differences occur in voice production by the same student singing in both classical and MT styles, and also aims to develop the beginnings of a model of the voices of young theater singers."--Journal of Voice, Click here for full research paper.

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BYCA meets the Schapiro Fund Challenge!

BYCA is delighted to announce that not only did we meet and surpass our gala goal, but we have also met and surpassed the Schapiro Challenge, raising over $50K for the BYCA Building Fund! 

Thank you to the Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund for an incredible opportunity, and thank you to all who contributed to a wonderful evening and helped to support the BYCA Challenge.

And even though the challenge is over, your support is always welcome!  Click here to donate to the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy today!

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