In the tradition of European choir schools, the University of California, Santa Barbara has established a residency for the Santa Barbara Children's Chorus to encourage the serious study of voice for children. Auditions will be held by appointment only on Sept. 25 and Oct.2.
Part of the University of California's alliance with K-12 school districts, the program---in partnership with the Santa Barbara Children's Chorus and the Goleta and Santa Barbara school districts---will provide voice training at UCSB for school-aged children, offer professional development for teachers in both school districts and promote arts education in the community.
"I am delighted that Michel Marc Gervais can bring his international experience conducting children's choirs to a program that will bring local children to UCSB and further the growing relationship between the Department of Music and the Santa Barbara and Goleta communities," said David Marshall, dean of the College of Letters & Science's Division of Humanities and Fine Arts at UCSB.
The children will interact with UCSB's Chamber Choir, a select ensemble specializing in virtuosic works from the a cappella repertoire, and students who are studying to be composers, music theorists, conductors and instrumentalists---creating a system of role modeling. In turn, district teachers in workshops will explore the range of works for children's voices, learn how to develop children's voices, and practice conducting techniques.
"Repercussions for the community are very positive," added Gervais, artistic director of the Santa Barbara Children's Chorus, director of choral studies at UCSB and founder of several international choir schools. "The children, who are from all segments of the Santa Barbara community, will be exposed to academia early on and hopefully will be inspired to continue their education after high school."
Gervais, UCSB associate professor of music and the department's co-chair of conducting, founded the Maîtrise Nationale at the Royal Chapel of the Château de Versailles, Schola Cantorum at Alberta College in Canada and the new choir school at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, as well as the Pro Coro Canada, one of Canada's three professional choirs. He is also founder and conductor of the UCSB Chamber Choir.
His research areas include choral performance with emphasis on the a cappella choral tradition, and vocal and choral education of children's and adult voices in North America, Western and Eastern Europe.
He has collaborated with choral ensembles, choral schools and orchestras worldwide, and has participated in radio, television and disc recordings in Canada, Sweden, Germany and France. He was decorated Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France in 1989 and is also director of the International Summer Academy of Choral Conducting in France.
The first performance by the Santa Barbara Children's Chorus will be
held at Trinity Episcopal Church on Friday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. For performance schedule and audition information, the public may call 681-0466.