choral music

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Community Chorus stopped singing in March just ahead of shelter-in-place orders and the county’s adoption of COVID-19 restrictions. Seven months later, the group reunited in person to sing, not in a concert hall but in a parking lot.

On Tuesday evening, dozens of cars drove into the Calvary Chapel parking lot in Central Fresno. They parked in neat rows close to the church buildings before a small stage and sound system. 

On this night, they’re singing via FM transmitter, like at a drive-in movie theater.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

With public schools still operating remotely, one subject particularly challenging to teach online is music. Despite the limitations, choir teachers in Fresno County are brainstorming new ways to instruct, even through a screen.

On one Thursday morning, halfway through the high school choir class that Jacob Bailey is teaching on Zoom, he leads the students through a warm up.

“Reach up nice and high to wake up that voice a little bit,” Bailey tells the students while stretching. “Wake up those ribs.”

Right on the heels of Easter, the Fresno Master Chorale concludes its season on April 28 with an epic work by Johann Sebastian Bach. In this interview, we speak with Artistic Director Anna Hamre and soloist Terry Lewis about their upcoming performance of Bach’s "St. John Passion".

Listen to the interivew above to hear why "St. John Passion" is different from other classic choral works, and how Lewis approaches the character of Jesus Christ throughout the performance.

LA Master Chorale

It’s being billed as the largest choral event in the history of California – 10,000 singers in six venues across the state, at the same time. It’s called the Big Sing California and it’s coming to Fresno’s Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall this Saturday. Anna Hamre of the Fresno Community Chorus joined us on Valley Edition to talk about this innovative statewide concert taking place Saturday at 2:00 PM.