It's All in the Family

Classic Arts Features   It's All in the Family
Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute will present a Family Sing Feb. 27. Thomas Cabaniss, composer and teaching artist, describes the experience of attending and singing along with the remarkable Young People's Chorus of New York City.


What is a Family Sing?

It's a kind of "sing-in" for the whole family. You are invited to become an honorary member of a musical ensemble: in this case, the Young People's Chorus of NYC: for an hour. You can sing with the chorus, listen to them, and find out what it's like to experience the music from the other side of the stage.

Why bring it from community venues to Carnegie Hall?

The Family Sing is a hybrid format we've been developing as part of the Neighborhood Concert Series. It has been so popular and so successful at places like the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Harlem Stage, and Lehman College, that we inevitably felt it would be exciting to have one at Carnegie Hall, too.

Since Leonard Bernstein in the late 1950s, Carnegie Hall has encouraged young people and their families to participate in the concert experience. This just feels like a logical and exciting new development in that great tradition.

How will the audience play an active part in the concert experience?

From the very beginning of the event, you warm up with the chorus, learn parts just as the chorus would, and follow YPC's Founder and Artistic Director, Francisco N‹ê±ez, in performances of entire songs. Some members of the audience might be invited to take a solo in a song they know, and chorus members will come out into the audience at key moments to help and support you as you learn your music.

Do you teach songs at the event?

The singing that you do as an audience member is simple to learn, but because of the arrangements and repertoire, your part joins others in creating big, gorgeous harmonies. You'll sing songs you know and some you don't. You'll learn what it's like to be a chorister in the world-famous YPC, a real New York treasure.

Why do you feel events like this are important?

I think it's a great way to introduce kids to the world of singing, and it is something that the whole family can really do together. Every time we do one of these events, the most common question we get afterwards is, "When's the next one?"

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