UCSB’s female a cappella group VocalMotion will host a “Rock Capella” workshop with the Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus at 10 a.m. this Saturday at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara.
During the workshop, VocalMotion members will teach 8- 14 year-olds traditional and contemporary styles, including basic beatboxing techniques. Children’s Chorus Director Erin Bonski will lead the three-hour session — the first of several events scheduled for the Children’s Chorus this season — in the society’s Jefferson Hall at 1535 Santa Barbara Street.
Nancy Ly, a fourth-year English major and Public Relations Assistant at McFadden & McFadden P.R. — the workshop’s promoter — said the event is a community-building initiative that helps youngsters adopt role models who share their passion for song.
“I know that when I was around the pre-teen age, I would always look at college students and see in them someone who I really wanted to be,” Ly said. “I think that with this workshop, the kids can directly interact with college students and, since they already have a common interest, be more inspired. Hopefully it will give them a preview for what is to come and allow them to see themselves as VocalMotion kids in the future.”
Bonski said the program will show participants how to rely on their voices and ears to explore a wide range of musical methods.
“I hope that we will expose the [students] to a different style of singing that they are interested in,” Bonski said. “I hope it will broaden their horizons with what is out there and what they can do with their voices. Singing can be a lot of fun and you do not always need accompaniment. You can use your voice in a way in which you do not need instruments, and it will help develop your ear.”
According to VocalMotion Performance Manager and Business Director Alex Platt, a fourth-year communications and global studies major, the students and student-teachers will split up in groups based on their corresponding vocal ranges. The groups will then reunite for a final performance toward the end of the workshop.
Platt said she feels privileged to share this unique educational opportunity with younger music students.“When [VocalMotion] was invited to help with the workshop, I felt really excited, mostly because I think a cappella is a genre that can really bring joy to young children because of how it can incorporate popular music,” Platt said. “To work with a children’s chorus and share how much we love this kind of music and singing style is a great opportunity.”
The Children’s Chorus began in 1993 as a countrywide, non-denominational music education program.
According to Executive Director Paul Freeman, the collaboration seeks to give students an inside look at the complex foundations of a formal a cappella choral group.
“At the workshop, [students] will get a chance to learn skills unique to the a cappella style,” Freeman said. “They will be able to sing five to six-part harmonies. They will be learning a song that they can sing later on. It is an opportunity to get training they may not be able to get anywhere else.”
Bonski said the program will help participants enhance their musical craft as well as build confidence.
“My favorite thing about these kinds of events is impelling the kids and getting them to feel successful and good about what they are doing,” Bonski said. “Music is so great for that. It is about finding ways to get children in touch with and exposed to things they may not have known they could love.”
Additionally, the Children’s Chorus will host a youth choral concert in May featuring the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Boys Choir as well as UCSB vocal groups Naked Voices and Brothas From Otha Mothas. The young singers will also make an appearance at La Cumbre Plaza on March 3, for a “Kids Expo” event hosted by ParentClick.com.
For more information on the Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus, visit www.sbchildrenschorus.com.