Community: Glendale choir performs with Master Chorale

The Glendale High School A Cappella Choir is among 28 Southland high-school choirs participating in the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 25th annual High School Choir Festival, a yearlong program that culminates with a free concert on Friday at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

The 11 a.m. performance will feature the professional Los Angeles Master Chorale Chamber Singers directed by Lesley Leighton, associate conductor. Then, at 1 p.m., close to 1,000 students, including those from Glendale High, will perform led by Los Angeles Master Chorale Music Director Grant Gershon. Students will sit in the audience, while Gershon directs from the stage.

The highlight of the student performance will be the world premiere of a work by MacArthur “Genius” Francisco Nunez commissioned by the chorale for the festival’s 25th anniversary.

This opportunity allows students to sing with a huge choir, in a world-class concert venue and then be directed by Gershon, who is not only amazing musically, but is very good with the kids, said Glendale High choir director Grace Sheldon-Williams.

“He’s personable and a cool guy,” she said.

Also performing will be the 80-voice Festival Honor Choir, whose members were nominated by their teachers.

Students representing Glendale High School in this prestigious choir will be Rebecca Chung, 18, a senior, who sings soprano; and Natalie Baroutgian, 16, a junior, who is a member of the alto section.

It’s a great honor and source of pride to have her students in the honor choir, Sheldon-Williams said.

“They have committed themselves to go to extra rehearsals beyond what the large choir did,” she said. “We took the larger choir down to a rehearsal at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion one Saturday earlier this month. But these girls have gone the extra mile to be in this additional choir — they’ve learned the music and gone to another rehearsal. And they get to perform in an evening concert on June 8 with the Master Chorale as part of the deal.”

Coincidentally, Glendale High students are in a photo on the Master Chorale website —

The festival is a yearlong, in-school program that includes intensive teacher training, classroom rehearsals and master classes for students and choral directors led by members of the L.A. Master Chorale Chamber Singers.

Tickets are free and available in the lobby. For more information, call (213) 972-7282.


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at

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