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Pacific Boychoir Presents Rachmaninoff's Epic All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Op. 37 - Premiere Performance in Los Angeles

By Susan D. Gordon

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Grammy-award winning Pacific Boychoir of Oakland, California, presents Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Op. 37 on Friday, May 10, 2013, 8 pm at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. Performed every three years in Oakland and San Francisco, this marks the first time in the Pacific Boychoir’s history that this piece is being performed in Los Angeles, in its entirety, with an all-male choir including boy sopranos and boy altos in outstanding acoustics. The masterpiece was first premiered by a boy’s choir in Moscow in 1915. In 2007, the Pacific Boychoir became the first choir in America to reproduce the original performing forces. Along with Daniel Babcock as tenor soloist, Los Angeles’ finest choral tenors and basses augment the choir.



"The last time we were in Los Angeles was in 2006 where we performed with Dmitri Hvorostovsky in an all-Russian language program at a sold-out Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The Vespers, also in Russian, will be our first full-length concert here and we look forward to engaging Los Angeles choral audiences," exclaimed Pacific Boychoir Artistic Director Kevin Fox, who has been eager to bring this piece to Los Angeles.

The All-Night Vigil is an a cappella choral composition by Sergei Rachmaninoff; his Op. 37 was written and premiered in 1915. It consists of settings of texts taken from the Russian Orthodox All-night vigil ceremony. It has been praised as Rachmaninoff's finest achievement and "the greatest musical achievement of the Russian Orthodox Church".

Tickets range from $18 - $28 and may be purchased online at PacificBoychoirAcademy.org or at the venue box office on the night of the concert, if tickets remain. For more information call 510-652-4722. The First Congregational Church of Los Angeles is located at 540 South Commonwealth Avenue, Los Angeles 90020.



Pacific Boychoir Academy(PBA) was founded in 1998 with six boys and today comprises over 170 boys and young men age 4-18 in seven choirs. The PBA has become known for its rich sound, musicianship, phrasing, and talented soloists. The New York Times said the PBA goes “beyond the reach of most youth choirs” and the Los Angeles Times described the PBA quality of sound and musicianship as “astonishing.”

The PBA has toured throughout the USA and to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, France, Canada, Brazil, Denmark, South Africa, China, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Russia. The PBA’s recordings include Cantate, a recording of Early Music written for boys’ voices, a recording of Christmas music by Benjamin Britten, a recording of two of Bach’s “Lutheran” Masses, and That Promised Land, a collection of American spirituals and gospel songs.

In the 2012-2013 season, the PBA will perform with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Donato Cabrera and Charles Dutoit, the Oakland-East Bay Symphony, the UC Davis Orchestra and Chorus, the National Symphony Orchestra of Brazil, for the Oakland Raiders, for Cal vs Stanford basketball, and will present three performances of Rachmaninoff's Vespers, in San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles.

Kevin Fox, founding artistic director and conductor, has been involved with boys choirs since the age of eight. He holds degrees in Music (with Honors) and Economics from Wesleyan University, Connecticut, where he studied voice with tenor Wayne Rivera, conducting with Mel Strauss, composing with Neely Bruce, and received the Lipsky Prize for outstanding scholarship in choral studies. He studied music at Oxford University, England, with Edward Higginbottom, and choral conducting at Westminster Choir College in Princeton with Jim Jordan and Vincent Metallo. He has served as Proctor for the American Boychoir, working with Jim Litton and Craig Denison, and has sung with the choirs of Trinity Church in New Haven, Trinity Church in Princeton, American Bach Soloists, the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale, and the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys in San Francisco, where he also worked as Interim Assistant Choirmaster.

Under his direction, the Pacific Boychoir Academy has grown from six to 150 choristers in four treble choirs and one alumni choir. Working with the PBA staff, Mr. Fox has developed a proprietary music reading and music theory training program comparable to university-level music classes. In 2002, Mr. Fox developed a business plan for the choir school, a comprehensive document compiling the ideas of staff and board members in preparation for the opening of the school in the fall of 2004. In 2010, Mr. Fox accepted the Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance for the PBA's participation on Mahler's Eighth Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony.

Tenor Daniel C. Babcock is in demand as a soloist, chorister and vocal instructor. He serves as tenor section leader for Orange County’s Pacific Chorale under the distinguished leadership of John Alexander. He is a frequently featured soloist with both Pacific Chorale and the John Alexander Singers. Mr. Babcock has performed with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Horizon Music Group, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, LASchola, Bach Collegium San Diego, and De Angelis Vocal Ensemble. The Orange County Register has written that Mr. Babcock "sang with projective ease and unadorned phrasing: a heartfelt and unostentatious performance." Mr. Babcock can be heard as a soloist and choral singer on three recent recordings: Pacific Chorale’s Rachmaninov Vespers (2010), Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s Hail Cecilia (2009) and John Alexander Singer’s Shenandoah (2008 Gothic Records). As a vocal instructor, Mr. Babcock maintains studios at Orange County School of the Arts, Fountain Valley High School and Irvine High School. Mr. Babcock teaches classical vocal technique and enjoys many different styles of music. He is happy to work with students on classical, contemporary, musical theater, jazz and choral singing. Mr. Babcock earned a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from UCLA and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from the University of Redlands.

Published on May 03, 2013

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