Toby Harwell Named Teacher of the Year

Alumnus Toby Harwell was awarded Teacher of the Year in the Lennox School district. He writes, “We are 1 square mile with 7,200 students…and while we face many common challenges with other title 1 schools, we are some how able to keep the arts alive.” He and fellow music teachers in Lennox received a grant from Holland’s Opus Foundation earlier this year.

Micah Layne featured as Boyle Heights Orchestra Teacher

Alumnus Micah Layne was featured in an article on KPCC’s website about the Boyle Heights Community Youth Orchestra.

“Boyle Heights orchestra teacher Micah Layne estimates that 50 percent of the orchestra’s students had never held a classical instrument before joining the program. The lack of access to music education is something that Layne sees first hand – he lives in nearby Montebello. ‘If you walk out in the street of East Los Angeles, which few ever get a chance to, you begin to very viscerally feel the lack of resources in this community,’ he said.”

Using a patchwork of grants and donations, the one-year-old orchestra charged students only $30 for the entire summer, giving students 15 hours of weekly instruction and a year-end recital. Students could take home loaner instruments to practice. You can get more information on the Boyle Heights Community Youth Orchestrahere.

Marina Harris Sings with the San Francisco Opera

Alumna Marina Harris sang the Embroidery Aria from Britten’s Peter Grimes and the finale, Dich, teure Halle from Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the Stern Grove closing concert on August 18, The concert featured the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Opera Orchestra performing a selection of operatic favorites.

Alex Miller Receives Terrific Review in the LA Times.

Adjunct Dr. Alex Miller is one of the directors of the What’s Next Ensemble. Their recent performance at Monk Space received a rave review from Mark Swed in the LA TImes. Swed wrote, “In ‘The Galvanized Natural Electric,’ guitarist Alexander Elliott Miller, one of the ensemble’s directors, began in a deceptively laid-back L.A. way as preparation for foisting on the viola inventive electric guitar effects and a battery of unconventional percussion ones.”

Swed concluded his review stating, “So what’s next? The ensemble, formed five years ago when the players were students at USC, has come into its own.”

Students sing with LAMC, Dudamel, LA Phil at Bowl

Beth Wightwick Peregrine had her first performance as a member of the LA Master Chorale singing the Verdi Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl. The LAMC performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel. The performances on Aug 13 and 15 were videotaped for a planned DVD release.

Alumnus Daniel Favela sang with the LA Master Chorale at the Hollywood Bowl in a performance of Verdi’s Aida on August 11th. Dudamel conducted the LA Phil and LAMC in a concert version of the opera.

Nicola Said Receives Rave Reviews

Alumna Nicola Said sang the Le Siècle des Lumieres (The Age Of Enlightenment) – Les Bougies Baroques, performance at the Holburne Museum in Bath (UK) in July. The rave reviews noted “Mozart’s Dal Tuo Gentil Sembiente, profoundly sung by Nicola Said bringing huge applause and cries of ‘Bravo“. The Sunday Times of Malta referred to Nicola as “A true rising star who already has that glamorous appeal peculiar to sopranos…Throughout her performance, it was as if she were deliberately playing with those devilishly difficult runs and throwing them to the wind almost with a shrug.”

Nicola Said earns MMus from Guildhall School

Alumna Nicola Said has completed her first Masters (MMus) at the Guildhall School in London. Next year she will earn the MPerf.

Nicola has been offered a place at the Samling Academy as a Samling Scholar for a one-week course eith full scholarship, where she will work with Joan Rogers, Roger Vignoles, Vlad Iftinca (current staff member at the Met) and Audrey Hyland.

Bob McChesney’s New Singles

Bob McChesney has released two new singles in support of his upcoming full-length CD, “Going Back,” set for release later this year. Special guest trumpeter extraordinare Arturo Sandoval joins him on one of the singles, Skin In the Game.

About Bob, legendary trumpeter Freddie Hubbard has proclaimed, “ . . . Some of the best trombone playing I’ve heard in a long, long time!” and Arturo Sandoval says, “Bob McChesney is a master trombonist!