San Luis Obispo Vocal Arts Ensemble. A rather long name for a small group that consistently reaches beyond its grasp and succeeds.
I have had the privilege of singing with this amazing group of humans for the last 12 years. We have members who have been with it since its inception. That’s 41 years! Forty-one years with the same director and the same accompanist.
Forty-one years of bringing incredibly beautiful choral music to the world.
When you hear the words “choral music” or “choir” and you think of your local church or school choir, you are not in the right league. We will expand your horizons in music exponentially. We are a community choir, a non-profit organization with no external affiliations. Financially, we rely on donations and member dues. We are very good.
We sing because, well, we LOVE to sing. Not in the shower or with the radio (although we could occasionally be caught doing such things) but in a group where our voices blend and create a sound greater than its parts. We want to make the music sing.
We work hard to make that happen. The music that we sing is often complicated. It is, more often than not, in a language that none of us speak. We have sung in Latin, Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese, Tagalog, Portuguese, Hebrew, German, Russian, Polish, Zulu and Swahili. (I am sure I missed a few!) We practice together just once a week for 3 hours. We spend hours at home learning and then memorizing the words and notes. We practice together to create the music.
We memorize ALL of our music so that we can sing from our hearts. We cultivate a personal connection with our audiences. We want them to hear and feel the music.
We work hard at our singing because that is what our director expects and it is what we expect of ourselves.
We travel. We tour.We sing in international choral competitions and in music festivals. We have taken our music to England, Wales, Poland, Hungary, Italy, France, Uruguay, Argentina, Sweden, and Canada. (Forgive me if I have missed a few!) In 2015, in France, we sang in ancient churches in small villages. Our audiences fed us from their gardens and ranches. And they loved our music. We connected, not through any spoken language, but through the language of music.
Just to give you a taste of that tour here is a You Tube video by Shannon Reilly made while we were in Marseilles, France.
This year, in October, we head to Spain. We will start in Malaga and travel the Southern Spain area. But we will end up in Calella (just north of Barcelona) for an international choral competition. We are already working on the music for that event!
But if you just want to hear us sing… a little something from our 2017 Christmas concert sung at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.
If you would like to learn more about us visit our website at www.vocalarts.org