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A chance to sing with the Master Chorale

* Internship offered to promising high school students

Posted: June 20, 2008 2:09 a.m.
Updated: August 21, 2008 5:03 a.m.
Although the last notes of the Santa Clarita Master Chorale's 2007-2008 season have been sung, the effects of its chords may resonate for years through its high school and college intern program. This season marks the eighth year that the Chorale has offered local high school seniors the opportunity to sing with the group for an entire season. Since 2000, 34 teenagers from many of the Santa Clarita Valley's secondary schools - Valencia, Canyon, Saugus and West Ranch - have performed with the vocal ensemble. Two and a half years ago, the Chorale introduced a similar program for local college students.

Through the course of their internship, these students learn not only how to improve their singing, but also how to work within a large ensemble. Like all members of the Chorale, the interns attend weekly rehearsals and commit to completing volunteer hours. Along with blending their voices and bettering their musicianship, most students report that participating in the program increases their enthusiasm for their schoolwork. Furthermore, they have the opportunity to learn a greater number of pieces and a wider variety of music than they would with their high school choirs. For many, it is their first opportunity to sing with a professional orchestra. Most of the high school students plan to continue choral singing in college or with other ensembles; one hopes to become a choir director herself.

Allan Petker, the Chorale's artistic director, considers the program a resounding success: "It heartens me that former high school interns return to the Chorale during or after college. The lasting influence of the internship is clear."

Two of those who have returned, Jean-Paul (JP) Jones and Liliana Castelblanco, enjoy success both within the group and beyond the Valley. Both have recently sung solos and a Bach quintet from the B-minor Mass with the Chorale. In addition to Jones' high school and college internships, he has sung at CSUN - where he majored in voice - and in the chorus of the Los Angeles Opera in its recent production of Porgy and Bess. After singing with the Chorale as a high school intern, Castelblanco pursued majors in music and biology at Occidental College and rejoined the Master Chorale this year. Next fall, Castelblanco will continue her musical education at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.

To participate in the program, students must have outstanding musical ability and pass the Chorale's regular audition process, along with a letter of recommendation from a music teacher and parental permission. Interested students should contact the Chorale:,, (661) 254-8886, or P.O. Box 800459, Santa Clarita, CA 91380-0459.


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