Yesterday, our Shine Chorus hit the road for our annual School Tour, visiting 4 different schools in one day! We performed 20-minute sets at Richmond, Woodstock, Hayhurst, and Emerson, traveling from place to place on a school bus, and stopping for lunch and recreation along the way. Our singers had such a wonderful time! This is our third year doing a tour like this in the Spring, and It is so much fun for our kids to perform in front of their peers (many of our singers attend the schools we visited) and to spend the entire day with their choir friends! The weather was beautiful, our singers did a beautiful job, our accompanists rocked, our parent volunteers were amazing, and we got to perform for audiences that were absolutely stellar (and pretty adorable too!) We could not have asked for a better day!
It's an exciting time of year! The air is fresh with the promise of Fall, everyone's rested from Summer and ready to hit the books again (theoretically at least), and our choral groups come back from their break full of energy and enthusiasm! We are gearing up to begin a new Lighthouse season, under the directorship of Ian Adams-Dirks, whom our singers know from his work with PSU's The Green Note. Ian comes to us with a background in choral and a cappella performance and arranging that fits perfectly with Lighthouse's unique vision as a young, close-knit, contemporary ensemble.
Born and raised right here in Portland, Ian started his music career playing piano at the age of 4. For the next 10 years he picked up instrument after instrument before finding choir. As a sophomore he sang in the Royal Blues at Grant High School and began arranging music at the age of 15. As a senior, he got his first a cappella experience in Cloud 9, which paved the way for singing and directing collegiate a cappella Groups Outspoken from Oregon State University and The Green Note from Portland State University. While singing with PSU's The Green Note, Ian received the award for Best Vocal Percussion at the ICCA West Quarterfinals two years in a row. His choral arrangements have also won awards, and have been performed by groups all over the country. Ian is also a Co-Founder and the Music Director of The Portland Timbre, an all-male professional a cappella group. In addition to directing choral groups and creating musical arrangements, Ian also teaches private voice lessons.
We are so thankful for this beautiful group photo to commemorate our year together! It was taken by talented photographer and Shine Dad Brian McLernon, whose work can be seen here.
Shine is getting ready to launch a new ensemble for ages 12 and up, and we need some help thinking of a name for it! It would be great if it had the word Shine in the title (but that's not 100% required). If you tell us a name and we end up using it, we'll send you a surprise gift!
Our new ensemble is slated to launch some time this coming season (at first open only to current Shine singers), and then expand in September 2012 to include new singers by audition as well. Ensemble singers will have the opportunity to prepare more complex music, while exercising a higher level of leadership and creative control. In keeping with the Shine Children's Chorus philosophy, this older ensemble will focus on teamwork and authentic artistic expression, with the added feature of "solo workshops" where singers can develop their solo singing skills in a safe and supportive environment.
Looking forward to this exciting expansion! And to seeing what names you come up with!
December was a busy month for Shine, and now we are all resting and enjoying the holidays, proud of what we accomplished in what was definitely our best season yet!
We had a great time at the Festival of Giving with Radio Disney on December 4th. It felt good to help support their efforts to collect goods for local charities, and as a bonus it gave us a chance to polish up our songs in front of an audience before our big concert the following week.
December 11th was our Winter Concert, with special guests The Green Note from PSU, and it was a huge success, a really fun and memorable night for everyone involved. I've been uploading video from our Shine video camera (which was mounted on a tripod the whole time, so don't expect too much fancy camerawork, or any for that matter...) onto our YouTube channel. Check it out, or watch below-- our best yet version of Fireflies by Owl City.
The Tuesday after our concert, a group of our singers made a special appearance at the DHS (Department of Human Services) Christmas Party for Foster Children. We sang a selection of songs from our repertoire, and then had a round of caroling, inviting everyone there to join in. It was a really nice way to end the season, and I was told that our being there was an inspiration to many.
To cap off our action-packed season of singing, we had a Holiday Karaoke Party at Voicebox, a really great option for karaoke singing with friends, as they have private rooms and a fantastic song collection. Our singers had a LOT of fun, and I think we might make this a Shine tradition!
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I've been holding auditions for new members who will join us in January, working on arrangements of new songs for our repertoire, and putting together the plans for some exciting new projects!
Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season and all the best in 2012!
This Sunday, December 4th, we'll be singing at Radio Disney's Festival of Giving at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton. We're very proud to be a part of this event, which is a one-stop-drop for holiday donations of food, clothing, toys, and even pet supplies. It's a great opportunity to spread some holiday cheer and make the season brighter for all. We go on at 1pm, and would love to see you there!
Click here to download a list of the participating organizations and their donation guidelines. So many great ways to give!
Last Saturday night, our chorus had a fun night out in support of our good friends, Portland State University a cappella group The Green Note. We went to see their Fall Concert, and the show was extra special because it was The Green Note's first time hosting a concert of their own since their inception last year. They invited some great groups to share the stage with them: Mind The Gap from the University of Oregon, Willamette University's HeadBand, and The Portland Timbre, a new all-male cappella group that is independent of any university.
It was, in a word, FANTASTIC. I was thoroughly entertained and impressed, and every time I looked over at the faces of our Shine singers, I could tell that they were having a GREAT time! There were lots of songs that they knew, (and even a song that we do in our group!), and the songs ran a wonderful range from serious and heartfelt to tongue-in-cheek and hilarious. The singers took home inspiration and new impressions about choreography, group unity, blending, emotional expression, dynamics, confidence, and so much more. It was an invaluable experience for them.
Our relationship with The Green Note began last year, when I invited them to visit one of our rehearsals. I got the idea because I sang with an a cappella group myself when I was in college at Boston University (it was called In Achord), and was also a Girl Scout leader at the time for a troop of Junior Girl Scouts (who are similar in age to our Shine singers). I can remember arranging for my Girl Scouts to come and see one of our shows, and I will never forget how excited and inspired they were by the performance. I just knew that my Shine singers would love to hear and meet a college a cappella group, and The Green Note was the most local co-ed one I could find. I sent them an e-mail, their super-nice manager responded, and soon our two singing groups were sharing homemade soup and rice crispy treats, talking about our favorite songs and artists, singing for each other (of course!), and playing games. I even ran out of scrap paper that night because so many of my kids wanted to get The Green Note singers' autographs!
Lucky for us, we will have a chance to hear The Green Note once more this season, when they perform at our own Winter Concert as our guest group! We are SO HAPPY that they will be joining us. I know it means so much to our kids, and they look up to The Green Note so much. And with good reason: they are INCREDIBLE!
Please come out to hear them at our Winter Concert on December 11th! You will be very glad you came!
We celebrated Halloween with a costumed rehearsal and Halloween Party on Sunday night. Everyone came dressed up, and the costumes were so creative and fun! Here are some photos and a video snippet of the festivities:
On Sunday, October 2nd, we had our first performance on the season at Oaks Amusement Park, as part of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's annual Walk to Cure Diabetes. With only 2 rehearsals to prepare for the show, our singers worked incredibly hard and we were able to debut two new songs (Perfect by Pink and Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time). In addition to these, we sang Waka Waka by Shakira, our Sunday, Bloody Sunday/Airplanes mash-up, and Owl City's Fireflies. The kids did a fantastic job, and our music was amplified throughout the park for the 5,000+ attendees to hear-- our biggest audience ever!
After the show, everyone received ride bracelets and our singers had the opportunity to hang out and have fun together at Oaks Park! Several of our singers also participated in the walk to help raise money for diabetes research. It was a great experience for us, and I'm proud that we got to be a part of such an important and worthwhile event!
Today we had the chance to host a Shine information table at TaborSpace's annual Tabor Fest. In addition to gaining a few new fans, our singers learned blueberry growing techniques at the "Ask a Master Gardener" table, heard a beautiful Irish folk song courtesy of the Portland Folk Music Society, and made some creepy-crawly new friends at a table sponsored by OSU.
The singers who were there had a lot of fun, and it was great for passersby to hear about the chorus directly from them. Our kids did a great job representing the group, and I'm really proud of them!