So many voices...special guests...singers...media. BCC's annual tribute concert is built upon VOICE. Get Vocal. Join Us. The one voice that we all stop to listen to ironically is the man standing in front of the screen waving his arms around- something exuberantly, sometimes mournfully. No, not our artistic director...it's the weatherman. He gave us an off-green light as a light snow was to be the only thing standing between BCC and a lively night of song. It merely dusted outside but inside Jordan the energy whipped up to construct a memorable occasion.
I could waffle on, dusting off my thesaurus looking for 50 different ways to say "SUPERB" so why not hand it over to some kind folks who emailed. Here's what they said:
"The concert was absolutely amazing and the best one I have been to. Please tell everyone kudos and thank you for a wonderful job, so well done. You should have all been singing at the Inauguration! I enjoyed the concert so much. "
"We LOVED the concert! So much more than we expected. All the kids looked they were really having a great time. Thanks so much for making us ambassadors for the day! Would love to see more of BCC in future concerts"
"Was a great concert, so glad I brought folks who had not yet been to a BCC concert. They were left speechless! Stay warm!"
"There is nothing to say except it was wonderful and what an outstanding tribute to Dr. King. The young people in the chorus have had such an opportunity and so many more await them."
"An extraordinary evening, yet again . Sing. Sing. Sing"
"I cried and I didn't care. The songs warmed my soul so much that I didn't notice the snow outside."
...the family that's in it
Nancy and Jenn are 2 BCC Alums adding to the very nostalgic buzz in BCC Central on an unusually balmy Thursday in January. Walking through the BCC doors to sing again with the chorus, Nancy and Jenn take a break from their respective schools at UMass Amherst and University of Southern California.
"Feels awsome to be back. It's something that I miss so much, and it's great to be back and fit right in," says Jenn. "I thought it would feel weird but it feels like home again."
"I'm missing music pretty badly," according to Nancy. "I missed the music auditions this year, as they were in the first week of school but I'm going to try out next year for sure." All the way in Southern California, Jenn experienced the same awkward audition timing "being in the exact same boat" in dealing with a new school that first week." This temporary absence of a singing schedule has impact on Nancy: "I need to get into singing. I need that sort of family back. I-need-to-be-singing.I feel a little incomplete."
On changes she has noticed, Nancy talks of the branding change: "I like the new logo," she says, as her eye scours the room looking for updated merchandise. "It's really pretty," says Jenn. "I miss the old one but this one is really, really cool."
BCC prepared Jenn to embrace diversity as she first walked into USC with its 17,000 undergrads. "My high school itself was kinda diverse but not like BCC, which was a great introduction to the real world in terms of different cultures. I have a suite-mate from China, one from Thailand, one from Canada."
"For UMass it is very odd as it has 24,000 undergrads but it's not as diverse as you'd expect and you're like 'where is everyone!' and that took getting used to, but BCC prepared me in being a better socializer," says Nancy "BCC was a great way to meet people and to build social skills. Everyone starts with college asking 'what's going on?' and I'm able to approach people and say 'let's be friends right now!' and it works."
BCC helped developed confidence in that you can talk to anyone," adds Jenn. "It was a tough semester in USC. I was in with seniors in one class but I learned to ask questions and that was important."
(at this point in the conversation Gabrielle Brutus walks in to say 'hi' to her long lost buddies)
Dorm life is treating Nancy and Jenn exceedingly well. Nancy met her room-mate in her summer orientation, and Jenn is delighted also with her dorm suite. "They're all great. I was a little bit nervous at first because I hadn't actually met any of them, and my room-mate was from China- making me nervous about language differences but being in BCC made me overcome that quickly." Jenn was adopted from China and didn't know a lot about it. "She's been telling me a lot and it's been great," says Jenn.
The 2 BCC alums are in buoyant spirits as they head off to sing (what else!) with the chorus. There is genuine warmth in the turbo-charged manic chatter around BCC Central as everyone tries to catch up.
"I wish my school was closer to BCC," says Jenn. "I miss the family of it."
"The songs give me goosebumps," says Olivia Geneus just before she plunges into the first rehearsal back from the Holidays. It's Thursday and it is COLD.
It's Olivia's first MLK Concert with PC. Gabrielle has done 3 or 4 MLK concerts. The level of song memorization has ramped up, and that brings a bit of pressure. "Focus at rehearsals gets it done," according to Gabrielle. "The theme of the concert tells a lot like don't judge a book by its cover...you never know somebody until you actually get to know them."
"A Change Is Gonna Come" resonates with the two singers as it provides a connection to the spirit of the civil rights movement. It also drives the singers to want to know more of the era where MLK demanded we focus on humanity and unity. "It sounds so good when the Young Men's Ensemble are here and you get the melodies going. When everyone sings together, it really works," says Olivia.
The special guests do add a "buzz" to the special evening. On November 4th, everyone enjoyed Patrick Chung's enthused participation in the season-opener. But at the end of the day it's the hard work of knowing your music, revising everything, knowing your notes, everything; and then to ask questions if you're confused. It requires...content of characater.
Now after such a relaxing break, BCC in heading into the busiest weeks of the season; the rehearsals leading up to MLK! We'll be having words from our singers about MLK and how they feel about the History behind it, and how their futures have opened up in the spirit of Martin Luther King by being able to have the opportunity to follow the future they want.
Here's a word from our singer from Young Men's Ensemble; a wonderful and talented young man who has quite a bit to offer the world! Expanding his musical horizons, Khamari Barnes has originals published for many to see; check out his facebook page at www.facebook.com/khamaribarnes!
"BCC has been one of the best tools I’ve ever encountered in my life. Tool as in life tools. BCC has taught me so much I thought I already knew about music, but did not. I can honestly say that BCC and its staff are the reason that I am the person I am today.
Musically, I only knew the foundation. I started in Dorchester Intermediate Choir where I was behooved by the amount of information that I would have to learn in order to be a professional musician. Though the hours of rehearsal were pretty consuming, the experience is unlike anything you experience else-where.
Since my start of BCC, I have graduated thorough the system to YME. YME is even more time consuming, but the pay off is amazing. After traveling the world with my best friends, I have realized a lot about myself, and about my friends. BCC has given me the opportunity to go places I would have never gone other wise.
Outside of BCC, using the tools I’ve been provided to write some of my own music!"
Young Men's Ensemble