Longfellow Alternative High School in Minneapolis has been filled with song this March with visits by special musical guests from VocalEssence. ¡Cantaré! Composer Francisco Zúñiga Olmos, Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III, and members of the Ensemble Singers are working with six teenage moms to help them write a lullaby for their babies.
This is all part of the VocalEssence collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project, which offers pregnant women and new mothers in challenging situations—along with their partners and extended family—an opportunity to create and share a personal lullaby dedicated to their baby, with the help of artists working in communities across the country. The hope of the project is to strengthen the bond between parent and child.
VocalEssence is the first professional choir nationally to participate, and we have had wonderful moments so far. One of the moms, Dana worked with the VocalEssence artists on Friday, March 4, 2016 and wrote this letter to her child (translated from Spanish).
The letter was the inspiration for the lullaby that was co-created by Dana, Francisco, Phillip and the singers. Watch the first recording of Dana’s lullaby below.
In addition to the writing sessions this March, in May, the lullabies will be scored for an octet of singers, and recorded by the mothers and members of the Ensemble Singers in a studio session. The final performance will occur as part of a listening and sharing session at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis for the families.
Two of the six lullabies will be performed by singers from VocalEssence at the ¡Cantaré! Community Concerts at the Ordway Concert Hall in Saint Paul on May 23, 2016.