The Providence Singers Young Men’s Choral Festival
Friday, January 24, 2020
When did men stop singing in barbershops?
Ask almost any chorus director: “What’s your biggest recruitment challenge?” The almost automatic answer: “Finding enough men who sing, especially tenors.”
That should not be. Choral singing is a wonderfully accessible medium for amateur voices. Plug in at any level; a world of discovery and enrichment opens almost immediately.
Every year since the 2008-09 season, the Providence Singers has organized a day-long choral festival for young men. Led by outstanding choral clinicians — Harvard’s director of choral activities, a Grammy Award-winning conductor — and mentors from college choruses, the group learns good vocal technique, works its way through well-chosen music, and presents a concert at day’s end. There’s plenty of camaraderie, T-shirts, extra-large pizzas, and plain old fun along the way. Choral educators from middle schools and high schools are welcome to join us for professional development opportunities.
The Providence Singers joins with Rhode Island College to present the annual Young Men’s Choral Festival, with mentors and volunteers from Bishop Hendricken High School and Warwick Veterans Memorial High School.
YMCF for 2020: Robert Rappa, clinician
Rob Rappa, once a tenor, tenor section leader, and member of the Providence Singers Board of Trustees, returns this month as clinician for the Singers 2020 Young Men’s Choral Festival.
Since 1999, Rappa has been choral director at the Edward R. Martin Middle School in East Providence, R.I. His choruses have won honors at state and regional festivals and are regarded as among the highest performing groups in the state. He has been an effective and tireless advocate for choral education, recently serving as president of the Rhode Island Music Education Association (RIMEA) and the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (RI-ACDA). His classroom has been open to student teachers and collegiate practicum classes, helping to train the next generation of music educators, and he has traveled to Washington several times in recent years to advocate and lobby for music education issues.
Rappa also oversees the RIMEA All-State vocal auditions at both junior and senior levels. He has been a guest conductor of the Rhode Island College Men’s Choir, the Rhode Island Jr. All-State Honor Choir, and the Junior Providence Singers Treble Chorus, and has planned, presented and served as a clinician for many workshops around New England. As 2020 clinician, Rappa’s involvement with the Young Men’s Choral Festival comes full circle: He attended and performed with the first YMCF in 2009.
Every year since its inception, the festival has ended — how else? — with a 7 p.m. concert, free and open to the public. Mentors and guest ensembles perform, and YMCF participants present the results of their day’s work. For the January 2020 session, the program includes:
- Hakuna Mungo, a traditional Swahili melody arranged by William McKee
- Things That Never Die by Lee Dengler
- Ticket to the Kingdom by Donald Moore
A few rehearsal resources to help master the music: