¡Cantaré! program expands to Rochester, produces new video

cantare video shotVocalEssence has won an Arts Learning grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to expand our ¡Cantaré! program to Rochester, Minnesota. This means that several schools and community choirs in Rochester will have three-week residencies with Mexican composers Rodrigo Cadet and Novelli Jurado, and will host a Community Concert with VocalEssence. Rodrigo will be working with elementary-age students at Franklin Elementary School, Montessori at Franklin, Riverside Elementary School and JUNTOS at ACHLA. Novelli will be working with high school-age students and community choirs, including select choirs at Mayo High School and Century High School, and the Rochester Male Chorus. Read more about the 2014-2015 ¡Cantaré! in Rochester program and meet the composers. As for the Twin Cities program, ¡Cantaré! composers Julio Morales and Jean Angelus Pichardo have completed their first week of residency beginning their yearlong relationship with each group. As part of their composer residencies, Julio and Jean will write new choral pieces for the school and community choirs while fostering greater awareness and appreciation for Mexican music and culture. Julio will partner with the VocalEssence Chorus, Blaine High School, Park High School in Cottage Grove, and Southwest High School in Minneapolis. Jean will be at Adams Spanish Immersion in St. Paul, Minnehaha Academy Lower School in Minneapolis, Partnership Academy in Richfield and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in St. Paul. We will receive their music in January 2015, and look forward to their return in March and May 2015, when we will hear the fruits of their labors at the ¡Cantaré! Community Concert on May 21, 2015 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.

Video shares story of ¡Cantaré!

Samaria BurchLast spring VocalEssence partnered with the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) of Minnesota to create a video about the ¡Cantaré! program. Deacon Warner, Youth Program Coordinator at IFP, worked with Samaria Burch, a student at Jennings Community Learning Center; they filmed the residencies of Mexican composers Pamela Mayorga and José Galván and a dress rehearsal in May, then edited the film to two versions, one about five minutes long, included above, and a shorter one-minute video. The video project was funded by Best Buy.

“My favorite moment would probably be filming the kids singing at the rehearsal at the Ordway. It was very fun to film them,” said Samaria. Through interviewing the students, teachers, and composers involved with the program as well as VocalEssence staff and community members, Samaria learned about the 2013-2014 experience as well as the impact the program has had on Minnesota since ¡Cantaré! started in Fall 2007.

“Working with VocalEssence is always a great learning experience for me,” Deacon said. “The opportunity to observe their teaching artists in action has given me many insights into how to improve my own work with youth. … I know Samaria also found the program inspiring. … She regularly came in early to edit and brought her own vision for how she wanted to tell the story. I feel the strength of the program we were documenting had a lot to do with her excitement about the film.”