On Saturday, June 1, more than 80 people from San Joaquin County will make simultaneous Carnegie Hall debuts.
On that day, during a concert that starts at 7 p.m., Bruce Southard will conduct a chorus of more than 150 voices at the legendary New York venue in John Rutter’s Mass of the Children. Eight ensembles will come together to form that chorus, with Stockton and Lathrop accounting for more than half of it.
It will be the first appearance in Carnegie Hall for everyone in the chorus, as well as for Dr. Southard. They will be joined by soprano soloist Christina Major; baritone soloist Nathan Matticks; and the New England Symphonic Ensemble. The performance is part of MidAmerica Productions’ 36th concert season.
The chorus for Mass of the Children will be drawn from the following ensembles:
Belvidere High School Chamber Choir, Belvidere, NJ (Ignacio Angulo-Pizarro, Director); The Stockton Youth Chorale, Stockton, CA (Joan Calonico, Director); The Fargo-Moorhead Youth Choir, Fargo, ND (Joshua Dahl, Director); Pompton Lakes High School Chorus, Pompton Lakes, NJ (Christopher Nappa, Director); Mable Barron Choir, Stockton, CA (Matt Short, Director); San Joaquin Delta College Choir, Stockton, CA (Bruce Southard, Director); The Stockton Chorale, Stockton, CA (Bruce Southard, Director) and Lathrop High School Advanced Choir, Lathrop, CA (Elizabeth Van Eerde, Director).
As befits a work with the word “children” in its title, three parent-child pairs will be in the Stockton Chorale contingent, making this truly a family affair.
“I was humbled and honored to be invited to conduct John Rutter’s Mass of the Children at Carnegie Hall,” stated Dr. Southard, director of two of the participating choirs. “This is an incredible opportunity for my students at San Joaquin Delta College, as well as the members of the Stockton Chorale, the Stockton Youth Chorale and the other ensembles. I cannot think of a more satisfying way to make my conducting debut at Carnegie Hall than with the choristers I work with on a regular basis.”
Elizabeth Van Eerde, Director of the Lathrop High School ensemble, performed at Carnegie Hall as a student at Carnegie Mellon University in the orchestra.
“I am honored to see my students have the same experience on one of the most prestigious stages in the world,” she said.
Matt Short, Director of the Mable Barron Choir, added, “We are very excited to represent our school and our city in the most famous concert hall in the world.”
Bruce Southard is currently the Director of Choral Activities at San Joaquin Delta College as well as the Artistic Director for the Stockton Chorale. As an award-winning teacher, his passion is working with young musicians as they grow and develop. He holds music degrees from the University of the Pacific, Western Kentucky University, and North Dakota State University. He resides in his hometown of Lodi, California with his wife, Holly.
The choirs at San Joaquin Delta College have a long history of excellence. The three choirs that make up the Delta choral program are comprised of singers from a variety of backgrounds and majors.
The Stockton Chorale, founded by Dr. Arthur Holton, has been part of the San Joaquin Valley arts scene since 1952. An auditioned chorus, the Chorale performs a wide range of repertoire each season in addition to regularly commissioning new choral works. A regular musical partner of the Stockton Symphony, the group has toured such places as England, Italy, and Australia. This will be the third appearance by the Stockton Chorale in Carnegie Hall, the last having been in 1991.
Founded in 1987, and supported by the Stockton Chorale organization, the Stockton Youth Chorale has provided a fun and engaging space for young singers in third through 12th grades to grow as musicians. The Youth Chorale consists of the Treblemakers (grades 3-5) and the Concert Choir (grades 6-8), as well as a new a cappella ensemble for high school students launched in 2018. In addition to concerts with the Stockton Chorale, the Youth Chorale performs its own concerts and regularly sings the National Anthem to open the Stockton Ports baseball season.
The Mable Barron Choir is comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from Stockton’s Mable Barron School. The Mable Barron Choir regularly performs at multiple local music festivals and sporting events, including at the University of the Pacific and Delta College, and at Stockton Ports baseball and Stockton Heat hockey games.
Lathrop High School is in its eleventh year, having opened in 2008. The Concert Choir and Show Choir are non-auditioned, while the Advanced Choir is an auditioned ensemble. The Advanced Choir participates in community and regional events. The musicians performing tonight are members of the LHS Advanced Choir who have competed in San Joaquin Delta College’s Choral Festivals.