Hal Leonard-Britten
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97 High School Students Compose "Hummingbird Warrior Oratorio" as Part of LA Master Chorale's "Voices Within" Education Outreach Program - Free concert Feb. 17, 2011

Location: California, USA
Expanding the choral repertoire with the world premiere of a new oratorio is major news.  But even bigger news is that a group of 97 talented high school students from Downtown LA's Central Los Angeles High School #9 has composed, in just 20 short weeks, a new 45-minute oratorio entitled The Hummingbird Warrior Oratorio, based on an exploration of the Aztec culture and the creation legend of Huitzilopotchli (the Hummingbird Warrior). The Los Angeles Master Chorale Chamber Singers join forces with these students to present the world premiere of the work in a free concert on Thursday, February 17, 7 pm, in the high school's Main Theatre.
 
Oratorios are extended musical compositions with text for dramatic characters written for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, and performed without action, costume or scenery.  They are sophisticated, complex musical works that can be challenging for composers and performers alike. 
 
The massive undertaking by these local students to create an oratorio was fostered through the Los Angeles Master Chorale's award-winning music education program, Voices Within, which was initially designed to teach fifth graders how to compose and perform their own original songs and has engaged over 25,000 children and created over 300 original songs since its launch in 2001.
 
Encouraged by a successful 2009 collaboration involving elementary, middle and high school students, and with the support of the California Arts Council's Artists-in-School Program, the Los Angeles Master Chorale adapted the Voices Within curriculum to address the advanced maturity of high school students, specifically choral students at the new Central Los Angeles High School #9 (CLAHS#9), a visual and performing arts high school in downtown LA.
 
Beginning in September 2010 and continuing for 20 weeks, the LAMC artistic team of Marnie Mosiman (performer/artistic director), David O (composer) and Doug Cooney (lyricist) worked intensively with 97 students from the 9th through the 12th grades to guide them through the process of creating an oratorio.
 
The world premiere concert is free to the public, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.  Los Angeles County High School #9 is located at 450 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012.  Campus parking is free (enter on Cesar Chavez Avenue). 
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