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The San Francisco Girls Chorus Joins Magnificat for Cupid’s Lessons

Members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus

One of the most charming moments in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis is the satirical spelling lesson given to a band of little cupids in the second act. On behalf of Venus Cupid teaches the younger cupids vocabulary to describe the court: “The insolent, the arrogant, the mercenary, the vain and silly,” which they dutifully repeat. It is noteworthy that Blow himself, as Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal, was responsible for teaching his young charges to read and write and Bruce Wood has suggested that, in addition to providing the librettist another opportunity to poke fun at courtiers, the ‘Cupids’ Lesson’ gives us an amusing glimpse of his methods.

For this delightful scene, Magnificat will be joined by members of the award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus, who have been prepared for these performances by Director Elizabeth Avakian. For more than 30 years, the San Francisco Girls Chorus has been recognized as one of the world’s most respected vocal ensembles. Its level of training, performance, quality, range, and leadership in commissioning music for treble voices are lauded by musicians, critics, and audiences. San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas says, “The San Francisco Girls Chorus is a treasure. Their training, musicality, and vibrant spirit are evident whenever they perform…”

Founded in 1978, the San Francisco Girls Chorus has become a regional center for choral music education and performance for girls and young women ages 5-18. More than 380 singers from 44 Bay Area cities participate in this internationally recognized program, deemed “a model in the country for training girls’ voices” by the California Arts Council.

The organization consists of a professional level performance, recording and touring ensemble and the Alumnae Chorus, both conducted by Artistic Director Susan McMane; the four-level Chorus School training program, supervised by Director Elizabeth Avakian; and a Preparatory Chorus for 5-7 year olds.

The Chorus School offers a program of unparalleled excellence, designed to take young girls from their first introduction to the art of choral singing through a full course of choral/vocal instruction. The comprehensive music education includes the study and development of choral artistry, vocal technique, music theory, music history, and performing style.

In addition to five Grammy® Awards, the Girls Chorus has won many honors, including the prestigious Margaret Hillis Award, and two ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming in 1999 and 2004. The Girls Chorus is invited annually to perform with musical organizations including San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, among others.

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