Categories: THE BUZZ

THE BUZZ: San Diego Sings! Festival Returns to Balboa Park 1,000 Voices Strong

San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus rocked the house with soloist Kori Gillis
Photo credit: Gary Payne

Article by Siena Beacham

March 26, 2019

The San Diego Sings! Biennial Festival took place at the Balboa Park Spreckels Organ Pavillion for the third time on March 23rd. Over 1,000 voices united to share a message of togetherness and harmony and the collaborative performance was stunning.

Carol Manifold and Sally Dean, both lifelong singers, originally conceived of the idea for this grand concert to celebrate the park’s centennial in 2015. As founding members of the Choral Consortium of San Diego, their goals were to feature many local artists performing in the park and to create a choral event larger than what one choir could do on its own. It is clear that they have successfully accomplished this objective as 22 individual choral groups participated in the festival from all over San Diego. Many diverse musical styles, ages and group sizes were represented at the pavilion. The list included SACRA/PROFANA, an organization that delivers vibrant performances and focused education outreach; the San Diego Chinese Choral Society whose members practice different styles of Western and Chinese pieces to explore the cultural aspects of music; the San Diego Women’s Chorus; and the San Diego Children’s Choir to name a few. Families and passersby enjoyed a melodic and sunny Saturday as each group graced the stage with their unique performances

The consortium aims to increase the public’s awareness of the many choirs in the city and to create a shared singing experience that is uplifting and memorable for all.

When asked what her favorite part of the festival was, Sally said, “I love standing in the back and gazing over a sea of colorful umbrellas, shading a sea of community members listening to choral music in the inspiringly-beautiful setting of Balboa Park and the impressive Organ Pavilion. I love that the event is free, enabling park visitors to stumble onto something unexpected. There is a lot of joy floating in the air!”

Carol shared findings from the Chorus America Choral Impact Study noting that “studies indicate choral singing has many benefits for people of all ages. Greater civic involvement, discipline, and teamwork are just a few of the attributes fostered by singing with a choral ensemble. Children who sing in choruses have greater academic success and social skills.”  She continued to say, “Our hope is that the San Diego Sings! Festival inspires families to participate in choral music through choirs throughout our community.

The San Diego Children’s Choir under the direction of Ruthie Millgard
Photo credit: Gary Payne

At two set times in the afternoon, all of the choral groups joined together to sing as one. Dr. Arlie Langager of the Mira Costa College Music Department stood atop a scissor lift so she could be visible to everyone. The audience was wowed as she directed the massed group of 1,000 singers, 10 feet high in the sky. Dr. Langager announced to the crowd that this was a collaborative effort to build community and said, “community can mean many different things, the people you surround yourself with or a home. Today we are a community as we raise our voices together in song.”

1,000 voices singing together for a grand choral collaboration, directed by Dr. Arlie Langager
Photo credit: Gary Payne

Next up, The Choral Consortium of San Diego will present the 5th Annual CCSD Summer Chorus in June.  Choir registration opens soon so stay tuned for details.

About CCSD
The Choral Consortium of San Diego is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization with a mission to promote the choral art in the San Diego region through cooperation, public awareness, and performance.  It currently has 58 member choirs. San Diego Sings!, the CCSD’s largest event, takes place every two years.

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Vanguard Culture is an online media entity designed for culturally savvy, socially conscious individuals. We provide original interviews and reviews of the people, places, and events that make up San Diego’s thriving arts and culture community, as well as curated snapshots of the week’s best, most inspiring and unique cultural and culinary events. We believe in making a difference in the world, supporting San Diego’s vibrant visual and performing arts community and bringing awareness to important social and community causes.