Richard Strauss said, “The human voice is the most beautiful instrument of all, but the most difficult to play.” This is not the case for the advanced choir students of our school.
Ridgeview’s choir was the only high school choir asked to perform with a well known professional choir over the summer, the Bakersfield Master Chorale. They are a local professional choir that’s well known worldwide. According to choir teacher, Elizabeth Provencio, the advanced choir students that were chosen to perform with the Bakersfield Master Chorale were her advanced treble students all in her sixth period and the soprano and altos in her third period concert choir class. The performance took place on November 1st in the First Presbyterian Church in Downtown Bakersfield, which completely sold out.
Provencio was first asked if the Ridgeview choir could perform with the Master Chorale during the summer. The question was brought up by the Master Chorale and Robert Provencio, her own father, who is the director of the Bakersfield Master Chorale. Dr. Provencio planned the performance with the Board of the Master Chorale and they needed a children’s choir to perform with them. That is when the Ridgeview Choir came into the picture. Provencio, RHS choir teacher, said she was, “very excited, proud, and honored” when she was first called about having her choir perform with the chorale. Provencio was thrilled about the news and said that when she informed her students about it and explained to them who the Master Chorale was, they were excited about the performance as well.
Our choir students trained long and hard for the performance from August to November. They performed Mass of the Children, an emotional piece composed by John Rudder that was about him losing his 19 year old son in a car crash. Provencio says that when she saw the piece that the chorale wanted to perform with them, she knew it was “a beast to take on” but had faith and knew they could do it. According to Provencio, the students practiced the song during class, after school a few times and twice with the actual Bakersfield Master Chorale.
Senior Dre Solis, soprano one in the choir, said, “My experience with working with the Master Chorale was really cool; they sounded amazing and were very patient when we were all rehearsing together.” The choir students weren’t used to practicing this much, but they got through it all and many students say they learned a lot from practicing with Director Provencio and performing with the Master Chorale. Senior Parvinder Kaur, who is considered a metso in the choir said, “First I learned about diction and how more mature they sounded, how much more focused they were, and how they knew how to fix their problems really quickly. Another thing I learned was professionalism … whenever one group would mess up, they knew how to support the other one to cover up their mistakes so they all sounded very put together.”
Provencio and all the choir students that performed with the Master Chorale believed that the performance was a success. The concert was sold out quickly and received many positive comments. According to Kaur, they only got positive feedback from the audience after the concert and the experience made her more open minded about continuing choir later on. Senior Sylvia Eggleston, an alto of the choir said, “When we started singing together it was really good. It was something you gotta like close your eyes and listen to.” Provencio said it was amazing to get the opportunity to watch her students perform with the Master Chorale. Provencio is proud of her students and believes her students grew a lot as singers through this experience. She says now the choir is taking it slow to recover from all the work it took to prepare for the big performance.