OAKLAND -- Fans of the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir's excellence in music performance are in for a special treat Tuesday, when the choirs get cool for an evening of upbeat choral music, a cappella jams and nightclub solos that celebrate popular music and that unique American art form, jazz.
On that night, top performing choirs, Ecco and Ancora, will perform together, sing several pieces on their own and then give voice to their remarkable music talents performing in small groups or as individuals.
While the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir is known for its commitment to freshly composed contemporary music from 1950 to the present, for the past 12 years the choir has used this "Jazz and Beyond Concert" to give its high school members a chance to show a different musical side. Add the fact that teenagers love listening to and performing popular music, and that sets the stage for a great night of musical talent and fun.
"This concert is really a good opportunity to showcase the varied talents of our teenagers, and it shows that they're teenage kids who like to let their hair down and have fun, too," said Clifton Massey, conductor and concert designer.
Massey will conduct Ecco, a 40-voice mixed choir of high school freshmen through seniors, in a medley of songs by electronic group Daft Punk, while the women's ensemble, Ancora, will perform under the direction of associate conductor Sue Bohlin.
Bohlin will conduct the 17 high school juniors and seniors in three exciting selections, beginning with "A lo Chilango," a modern piece composed specially for Ancora by Diana Syrse. In the piece Syrse, of Mexican descent, has combined many different fragments of Latin rhythms, things you would hear being played in Mexico City, with added voices and sounds.
"This is a really exciting, showcase piece for listeners who enjoy Latin rhythms and fun music, but it's rich and full of content for people who are interested in music," Bohlin said.
After their second piece, "Royals" by Lorde, Ancora will complete their program with "Vocal Fantasy" a pop-ish jazz piece by local composer and Children's Choir alumnus Anne Hege.
Rounding out the evening will be classic jazz and top-40 solos presented by teens from both choirs, songs that are familiar but newly arranged. They will be accompanied by the jazz trio of local Bay Area pianist Kymry Esainko.
"We'll have small groups; a trio of girls that do Andrew Sisters-type music; a lot of different combinations of voices, male and female; some will also play the piano or guitar," Massey said.
The Jazz and Beyond concert is one the choir members talk about and anticipate all year long as they look forward to the musical selections and the chance to showcase their solo voices.
"As a director, this concert is very special for me because I see so often the kids that I've only known from an ensemble point of view step up and show a whole new side of their personality and their voice and that's very meaningful to me," Massey said. "This is a great opportunity to see the artists of tomorrow showcase doing music that is familiar to them as well as music that honors that unique American tradition of jazz."
What: Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir "Jazz and Beyond Concert"
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: The Marsh Arts Center, 2120 Allston Way in Berkeley.
Tickets: $12 to $30 in advance; $15 to $20 at the door