youth chorus (copy)

The Long Beach Youth Chorus in 2019. This 2020-21 season is planned to be online only.

Like others, the Long Beach Youth Chorus (LBYC) suspended its operations earlier this year when the city's Safer at Home order was announced.

All rehearsals and upcoming events were cancelled until further notice and the LBYC published a Youtube video featuring chorus members singing a season-ending virtual performance.

But the music continues to play, and the chorus has announced that the 2020-21 season will begin in September, pandemic or not.

New artistic director Stevie J. Hirner has been working with members to get the show online virtually and "be a diverse multi-chorus organization that provides every child in the region the opportunity to perform in a choir ... giving them the life-changing skills that choral singing can develop," according to a release.

Although her appointment was made official just two weeks ago, Hirner said that she's hit the ground running.

"We hope to be able to incorporate several new initiatives in the organization from a 'Recruitment Raffle' to teaching music literacy to Virtual Choir Productions and safe, socially-distant rehearsals," she said. "We are confident that with our plan, our singers will develop worthwhile musicianship skills while also reaping the countless other benefits of being in a choral ensemble."

The first virtual rehearsal is happening from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13. Meetings will take place every week and include masterclass lessons and clinics for the singers. Music education will include vocal training, music theory, sight-reading, ear training, and composing and songwriting.  

The goal is for singers to work toward a series of small micro-performances like porch and park performances, as well as online solo performances and videos.

"Throughout my audition process for this position, I was fortunate to be able to interact briefly with several of the singers, and I was extremely impressed by their dedication and willingness to try new things," Hirner said. "Over the next week or so, I am meeting with each of our singers and their parents individually so that I can get to know them prior to our season starting on Sept. 13. Building meaningful relationships with my singers is an integral tenet of my teaching philosophy, and I am thrilled to get started."

Additionally, tuition has been reduced for singers. The cost for participating is $50 for the season and includes all programming. Non-members also can participate in a masterclass of choice for $10 per person.

The Long Beach Youth Chorus begins its fourth season at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13, and is open to singers in grades 5-12.

Auditions will take place online and will be scheduled between now and Sept. 13. To register for the Long Beach Youth Chorus, go to longbeachyouthchorus.org/registration.

Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at sstuzman@gazettes.com.

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