Friday, March 1, 2019, 1 PM
Saturday, March 2, 2019, 1PM
Free & open to the public
Van Nuys High School Auditorium
6535 Cedros Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91411
WALKOUT: Past, Present, Repeat, a timely new oratorio written by Van Nuys High School students for the Los Angeles Master Chorale's Voices Within Oratorio Project, will be premiered by students and members of the Master Chorale on Friday, March 1st and Saturday, March 2nd in the school's auditorium. The Friday performance will be for fellow students. The Saturday performance at 1 PM is presented as a free community concert and is open to the public.
WALKOUT: Past, Present, Repeat recounts the East Los Angeles High School Walkouts of 1968 when over 20,000 Los Angeles students walked out of the classroom to protest discriminatory practices that undermined the academic ambitions of Latino students to the point of channeling them into menial labor and prohibiting the Spanish language on campuses. These events are widely credited with awakening student activism and signaling the dawn of the Chicano civil rights movement in Los Angeles. The students’ protests grew to include parents, families, and the general public, making national headlines. The 1968 Walkouts are attributed as having a significant impact on the dramatic rise in college enrollment among California’s Latino students, a stronger sense of inclusiveness within the school system, and ultimately the elevation of Latinos to positions of power throughout the city.
The performances of the 45-minute WALKOUT: Past, Present, Repeat are the culmination of the Los Angeles Master Chorale's 20-week Oratorio Project program. The program engaged three teaching artists, performer Alice Kirwan Murray, lyricist Doug Cooney, and composer Saunder Choi, to work with the students, alongside Van Nuys High School choir teacher Brianne Arevalo, who leads the vocal program of 9th through 12th grade students. Students write the libretto and create melodies for each movement of the oratorio. They are mentored by the teaching artists on how to use musical techniques to capture the voice of the characters they create, propel the momentum of the plot, and paint the mood of the scene. After the oratorio has been written, the students audition for solo roles and are coached vocally to prepare for the performances. Eight Los Angeles Master Chorale singers perform the oratorio with the students, providing additional professional guidance.