Interview by Student Interviewer, Brianne Plach
AK: What was the purpose of the LACC’s visit to China?
AT: LACC tours each year to share our love of singing with others, build worldwide friendships, and learn about other musical traditions and choirs. [We also tour to] immerse ourselves in a new location, get to know one another well, and have fun!!!
AK: What kinds of songs did the LACC sing in China?
AT: LACC sang groups of songs in two categories: Chinese folk songs and newly composed works by Chinese-American composers to honor our hosts. [LACC also sang] a set of pieces called “American Songbook” which introduced our audiences to a wide variety of music from this country. We included sacred works, American folk songs, and some jazz and gospel selections.
AK: Did you get to see some unusual sights [while you were in China]?
AT: We had a wonderful visit to China! We saw the Great Wall (and even were allowed to sing on the wall!), the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Great Hall of the People (where we gave a concert) and the Shanghai water front. One of the most remarkable experiences was getting to know the people of China and learning of their warmth and eagerness to learn from us.
AK: What audience did the LACC sing for in China?
AT: We were honored to sing for political leaders, music lovers, children with physical challenges, and we [also] enjoyed a Saturday afternoon with the Shanghai children’s choir. We could only speak a few words with them that we had learned in Chinese, but we sang a well-known Chinese folksong together “Jasmine Flower”.
AK: Are the kids nervous when they sing?
AT: I think they are excited and certainly want to do well. And I suppose a bit nervous when we sing high profile concerts. But really we hope to communicate the poems we sing and our love of singing, which makes things really fun.
AK: Do you like teaching others to sing?
AT: I simply love it! There is something unique about each person’s voice and I am honored to help them find this great beauty inside themselves.
AK: Did you sing in a choir when you were a younger/a girl?
AT: Yes, I sang with our school’s classroom choir, which we had twice each week, and then I sang in my children’s church choir, which rehearsed just once a week.
AK: What inspired you to teach people to sing?
AT: My love of music, my own joy [when] singing, and my love of being with a lot of different people.
AK: What have you learned from working with children as a chorus director?
AT: Many, many things! I’ve learned that each child has a unique quality of voice and personality which needs encouragement and support. I’ve learned that each piece of music is like reading a book–discovery the story inside the music is a wonderful exploration. And I love to hear how much children singing beautifully means to the audience and how important it is for adults to hear this type of beauty.
AK: What advice do you have for aspiring young singers who might like to join a choir like LACC?
AT: Please do come audition! We are not looking for perfect voices, but children eager to learn!
Learn more by checking out the LACC’s website with your parents: http://www.lachildrenschorus.org/