Friday 31 December 2010

Voices of angels and the patience of a saint

It so happened that just when the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir were visiting us in Madrid, Spain, we also had a group from… let’s just say aEuropean capital city. Our European guests had also promised to sing and I thought it would be great fun to put our two sets of visitors, one from the USA and the other from Europe, together in the concert. Unfortunately, the European visiting group’s teacher was held up and was not able to be there to prepare her group to sing, so…… we waited….. and then waited some more.
With endless patience Ms Rawson started her Choir’s  performance and very kindly agreed to let the other visitors  take their place when their teacher arrived……Short stop for a changeover of choirs…no teacher…. no choir….please continue…and so it was that we had a double helping of the Georgia choir and missed out on hearing our European visitors. Our gain, their loss….but what exemplary charm and patience we saw that day from Ms Rawson and her excellent, dignified young singers, I congratulate them all.
Over the past years we have been fortunate to welcome visiting choirs from the United States, and one of the most striking groups which has performed for us is the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir led by Jennifer Rawson, Artistic Director and Tour Choir Director
The Georgia Regional Girls Choir is a nonprofit, non-denominational organization for all girls in the 3rd through 12th grades and includes Tour, Apprentice and Training Choirs. All choirs perform two major concerts each year -- one during the winter holiday season, and one during the spring.  The Tour Choir performs throughout the year, including a summer tour. (GRGC notes).
For eleven years, Ms. Rawson has conducted the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir, a premiere girls choir in North Georgia, which has toured throughout the United States and Europe under her direction, performing in Italy, London, Washington D.C., San Diego, Boston, San Francisco, the Georgia Governor’s Mansion, and the Biltmore House. Ms. Rawson has been a member and frequent soloist with the Atlanta Singers under the direction of David Brensinger for fifteen years and has had past positions with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, The Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus, and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers under the direction of Robert Shaw. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her high energy, animation, and creativity combine to make GRGC a fun, as well as educational, experience for all the girls. (Ms Rawson’s notes)
Here is the repertoire sung by the Choir on their visit:
1) Pueri Hebraeorum                                    Randall Thompson
2) Salve Regina                                                Javier Busto
3) Psalm 23                                                        Z. Randall Stroope
4) Ah! Si mon moine voulait danser        Canadian folk song
5) Niska Banja                                                  Serbian gypsy dance
6) Duerne Negrito                                          Atahualpa Yupanqui
7) Las Amarillas                                                traditional Mexican
8) How Can I Keep From Singing              Quaker song
9) Keep Your Lamps                                      traditional spiritual
10) Hello, Girls                                                 American folksong
As you can see, the choice of repertoire shows a wide range of national origins and stylistic influences, and a perfect balance of inspirational and fun songs. Surprising as it may seem to readers in the USA, much of this repertoire is unknown here, and was appreciated even more for its novelty.
The concert performance was excellent, with a refinement in tuning, tone and control that was exceptional and deeply appreciated by our audiences, which were made of school students from around Madrid of exactly the same age as the singers. How we all admired your wonderful singing!
Please forgive me for not including the photo of the girl singers here: it is my policy not to include photos of minors in my blog in order to protect their privacy. As expected, their presentational skills were wonderful and their parents back in the USA can be duly proud of them in every way. I hope you will come back to Spain soon, and include us on your list of concert dates.
Thanks to Wens Travel, who coordinate all the arrangements so beautifully to guarantee a happy occasion for all.
The great thing about the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir is that, not only do they have angelic voices, they have the patience of a saint.

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