The Boston Children’s Chorus brings its voice back to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall on Nov. 10. Tickets are required and include admission to the museum. The Boston Children’s Chorus provides students in the Greater Boston area an opportunity to experience the transformative power of music.
The Gardner event inaugurates BCC’s upcoming two seasons dedicated to honoring women in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote, otherwise known as the 19th Amendment. Two of the chorus’ advanced ensembles will perform under the baton of guest artist Karmina Šilec. The internationally known conductor, composer, and director, who hails from Slovenia, has programmed musical selections based on the ancient art of chanting and will conduct the chorus.
For thousands of years, humans have recognized the remarkable power and ability of sound, voice, and music to bring joy into our lives. —Karmina Šilec, Boston Children’s Chorus guest conductor
A virtuoso vocal music practitioner, Šilec tells Exhale, “For thousands of years, humans have recognized the remarkable power and ability of sound, voice, and music to bring joy into our lives, to give meaning to life’s rituals and passages, and to connect us with a divine presence greater than ourselves.”
For the BCC concert, Šilec has chosen music based on or inspired by Orthodox Znamenny, Sami yoiks, Inuit, and Gregorian chants. Composers and arrangers span the medieval Hildegard of Bingen to Indian author Victor Paranjoti. “Chants unify. They bring people together in thought, intention, knowledge, and love,” she adds. The show promises to be a thrilling exploration of the human voice, heart, and soul—an excursion into human diversity and community—for both the singers and the audience.
George Steel, the Abrams curator of music at the Gardner, is delighted to welcome back the Boston Children’s Chorus to Calderwood Hall. Steel feels a responsibility to the legacy of Isabella Stewart Gardner, to art, and to artists. While 60 percent of the Gardner’s visitors are tourists, Steel, in his role as curator, is mindful to balance international performing artists with community events. Community, in his eyes, has many variations, including the neighborhood immediately around the Gardner, Greater Boston, onetime visitors, and museum members.
[The Gardner believes in] offering the public artistic experiences through variety, fun, socializing, respite, and self-reflection. Everyone should feel welcome.” —Rhea Vedro, Gardner Museum director of community engagement
Of the BCC’s President and Artistic Director Anthony Trecek-King, Steel says, “Anthony is the kind of guy with high standards and artistic taste. He brings energy and excellence to the chorus’ musicianship, training, programming, and educational goals. His leadership is hard to beat.”
Rhea Vedro, the Gardner’s director of community engagement, feels the Boston Children’s Chorus’ concert fits into the museum’s commitment to attracting diverse voices and lenses. She says the Gardner believes in “offering the public artistic experiences through variety, fun, socializing, respite, and self-reflection. Everyone should feel welcome.”
BCC’s decision to honor women by including female guest artists during the 2018–2020 seasons is completely aligned with its own goals. It aims to harness the power of music, to unite diverse communities, and inspire social change. The Boston Children’s Chorus provides intensive choral training and high-profile public performance experience locally and around the world.
BCC believes one must learn from the past in order to build understanding and compassion for a more harmonious life. As part of its regular programing, Boston Children’s Chorus has 13 different choirs made up of various skill levels, which rehearse at five different sites throughout Boston. Four out of five students receive some sort of financial aid, and the BCC maintains a sliding-scale fee structure. Boston Children’s Chorus students receive a fine musical education based on discipline, commitment, and the relevance of music in our everyday lives.
Two of the advanced choirs will perform “Choregie” at the Gardner, which will be staged as well as conducted by Šilec. A theater director and a musician, Šilec is a 2018–2019 Harvard University Radcliffe Institute Fellow. She received an invitation to collaborate with BCC after her fellowship was announced. Šilec brings her professional experience and expectations to this exceptional Boston organization. The 2018–2019 Boston Children’s Chorus concerts are generously supported by Willa and Taylor Bodman.