Stories about our music staff and associates:
Rehearsing the Bolshoi Orchestra - A few years ago, I was invited to rehearse the Bolshoi Orchestra, an amazing opportunity to experience the rich musical heritage of Russia.
On singing Russian music with BCCO at this time in history - Music Director Ming Luke talks about the challenges and importance of singing Russian choral works in our current season.
On Dvorák and the Stabat Mater - Reflections on learning Dvorak's Stabat Mater, and how it relates to other Dvorak symphonic choral works.
Jason Sherbundy, Portrait of our Accompanist - A portrait of our accompanist, Jason Sherbundy
Three Years of BCCO: reflections from Eric Choate - Eric Choate reflects on three years as Assistant Conductor for BCCO, as he begins his final season with the chorus.
BCCO War Requiem receives Best of the Bay award - BCCO’s commanding performances of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall last June earned a top spot in the 2015-16 Best of the Bay reader poll by San Francisco Classical Voice.
Community, brain science, and the power of music - Some reflections on the ways music benefits us and brings us together in challenging times.
Two Requiems — singing in the new year with Cherubini and Mozart - Reflections on our two works for this week's concert: Mozart's Requiem and Cherubini's Requiem in C minor.
War Requiem soloists: an interview with Brian Thorsett, Carrie Hennessey, and Efraín Solís - Carrie Hennessey, Brian Thorsett, and Efraín Solís discuss singing the solos in Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, at BCCO's June 2016 performances.
Preparing to conduct Britten’s War Requiem - Performances are just a week away; some reflections on conducting Britten’s masterwork.
When BCCO performed Carmina Burana - It was the kind of magical event that can happen in a live performance and it’s the kind of magic that happens in our wonderful chorus.
Our Soloists for Britten’s War Requiem - About our soloists: Carrie Hennessey, Brian Thorsett, and Efraín Solis.
The Power of Music in our Human Experience - As we’ve talked about, Britten’s War Requiem is difficult music, and not just because of the notes, but also the subject.
Singing Collin’s Praise - As BCCO members we have witnessed Collin’s extraordinary accompanist abilities. Recently, a small group of us enjoyed a wonderful concert at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music showcasing his talents as a composer and conductor. All the music he created, using texts of Pablo Neruda, e.e.cummings, Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti, was beautiful and showed […]
Welcome to BCCO’s 50th anniversary season! - The BCCO 50th Anniversary season is about to begin!
Collaborating with the San Francisco Girls Chorus - Why a girl's chorus instead of the traditional boy's choir for Britten's Requiem? Here are some thoughts.
Farewell to Collin, an extraordinary musician - A farewell to Collin Whitfied, our extraordinary accompanist, as he heads off to the next phase of his life.
My first semester and the origin of “Tenor Power!” - My first semester and the origin of "Tenor Power!"
Libera Me, my favorite part of Britten’s War Requiem - Reflections on the Libera Me, the final movement, which we have been rehearsing very hard in the past couple of weeks.
Wilfred Owen’s Strange Meeting - Ming Luke reads "Strange Meeting," by Wilfred Owen
Arlene Sagan on teaching Tritones - Benjamin Britten's War Requiem is not the first piece that has challenged us with tritones!
The Voice Jury - A tale from my student days.
The Power of a Musical Ensemble - Realizing the power of a musical ensemble during a tour, while at Westminster Choir College, led me to want to explore being a conductor.
The Sockettes, World Premiere Performance - The World Premiere of the Sockettes at the 2016 Untalent Show, March 5, 2016, a BCCO retreat tradition. Costumes: Linda Morris, Direction: Pam Miller, un-talent: evenly distributed! note – it took a bit for the cameraman to realize that dead-center perspective was needed and reposition himself. So keep watching to get the better visuals.
Musical Magic working with BCCO - There have been many magical music moments in working with BCCO but these two stand out for me: St. John Passion in the Berkeley Community Theater and Dvorak's Requiem in Prague.
Beautiful Nails - A photo quiz.
Gratitude (I think I shall praise you) - THANK YOU for such an incredible premiere performance experience!
Why the War Requiem is an important work for me - Thoughts on the War Requiem as we begin rehearsing this fantastic work.
Dewey Livingston on Eugene Jones and the doves - Dewey Livingston tells of a magical music moment with Eugene Jones.
Jeff Mertens on Singing with the Trees - BCCO trombone player Jeff Mertens tells of a magical moment with former music director Eugene Jones.
Sketch of Eric Choate - Providing a fuller sense of Eric than we can get from his rehearsal presence alone
Sketch of Kurt Erickson - Composer Kurt Erickson won the competition to celebrate BCCO's 50th Anniversary
Serenade for Derek - Chorus manager Gabriele Crane created this video for Derek's "graduation" from the conductor mentoring program.
Accompanist Extraordinaire: Collin Whitfield - When Collin Whitfield was seven, his Dad’s friend needed to get rid of a beat-up, 90-year-old upright piano, chipped ivory keys and all.
A Long Time Ago in Berkeley - Once upon a time, I sang Messiah with Eugene Jones.
Ming Luke on 50th Anniversary Repertoire - Video recording of Ming talking to chorus at November 30 rehearsal about the 50th anniversary repertoire and how it reflects the history and spirit of BCCO.
Happy Holidays, BCCO! - Some thoughts from Ming to ponder over the holidays, before our first anniversary concerts.
Conducting Symphonic Choral Masterworks: how do you keep track of everything? - One of the chorus members asked me how I keep track of everything when I'm conducting symphonic choral masterworks. Here's the basics!
Is She That Conductor? - Is Arlene Sagan the same conductor who transported me that December of 1981?
In love with Lenny - Youthful ardor
Eugene Jones: our first music director - Gene Jones founded the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra in 1966. Gene loved Handel's Messiah, and the group's first concerts were December performances of this oratorio.
1981 Brochure for BCCO - Here is a brochure put out by BCCO in 1981
My amazing BCCO journey from observer to apprentice conductor - Janelle relates her journey from singer to apprentice conductor.
BCCO All-Day Rehearsals: a tradition of music and fine food - All-day rehearsals have been a BCCO tradition that lets us delve into aspects of the music and of singing that we often don’t have time for during the regular Monday night rehearsals and give us a chance to learn from other conductors and musicians. On Saturday (November 14) we were joined in the morning by soprano Shauna […]
A Tribute to Gene Jones - Gene Jones: the spirit of BCCO
Ming’s Musings: On New Compositions, Kurt Erickson - Here I discuss my love of working on new compositions, such as the Kurt Erickson piece, “I Think I Shall Praise Him,” commissioned for BCCO’s 50th anniversary.
My philosophy of choral singing - A bit about my philosophy of choral singing, on what it means to sing as a chorus, in community
Finlandia, 50 years ago - Finlandia,by Jean Sibelius, was often performed as an audience sing-along under Arlene Sagan. It also has an unexpected connection to BCCO's anniversary.
Bach, Honey Crisp Apples and Eric Choate - A music lesson from Eric Choate derived from a history of an apple
Lisa leads BCCO in a warmup - I have great admiration for our new apprentice conductor, Lisa Nelbach. Her debut in the warm up this year gave us all a good dose of her warmth and humor, even with the pressure of a couple hundred sets of eyes on her. What courage to step up to this new endeavor! In my more […]
Ming’s Musings: Rehearsals - Ming muses on the rehearsal process as he leaves the chorus in the hands of guest conductors during his trip to China with the San Francisco Ballet.
Eugene Jones Honored - On Saturday, October 17, 2015, Eugene Jones was awarded a Heritage Keeper Award by the Friends of Negro Spirituals.
Memories - Singing with BCCO under Eugene Jones remained one of the highlights of my life, a memory with a glow about it that I yearned to get back to.
Welcoming Ming to BCCO - Song lyrics to the tune of If I Were a Bell to welcome Ming to BCCO
Reflections on Deb Golata - Reflections on Deb Golata's musical accomplishments and rich association with BCCO and BWCC by her voice student and friend, Arianna Comyns
Ming’s Musings: rehearsing Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms - At a rehearsal break, Music Director Ming Luke talks about rehearsing Bernstein's Chichester Psalms.
Arlene the Piano Teacher - Arlene, who embodied a Mary Poppins personality but was dressed in sagging pants and an oversized, rumpled shirt, would draw my daughter away to the musical world of Beethoven and Mozart.
BCCO Embodies Music for Everyone - BCCO Music Director Ming Luke reflects on BCCO's commitment to music for everyone.
Verdi’s Requiem as singer and conductor - BCCO Music Director Ming Luke reflects on singing and conducting Verdi's Requiem.
My First Rehearsal with BCCO - Music Director Ming Luke remembers his first rehearsal with BCCO.
Arlene Sagan as Richard Nixon - Arlene stops the choir in the middle of a Bach fugue.
Joseph Liebling - While Joe Liebling has never, with the exception of the year he was guest conductor, held a formal post with BCCO, he has had a profound influence on our music-making for many years.
Commission Update – Photo - Photo of handwritten score
Meet Kurt Erickson & his New Work, I Think I Shall Praise It - Introducing composer Kurt Erickson's new commissioned piece for BCCO's 50th Anniverary: I Think I Shall Praise It
Ode to Joe - Ode to Joe , with lyrics by Mary Rogier, celebrates the special relationship between Maestro Joe Liebling and the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra.
Aspire to the Stars: the Gifts of Arlene Sagan - Arlene always encouraged us to "aspire to the stars," the inspiration for this video's title.
Young Composer Competition - A video about BCCO's Spring 2013 Young Composer Competition, in which composers age 40 and under to submit a short piece for chorus and orchestra.
Arlene’s House - Arlene Sagan is rightly praised for her true musical brilliance, knowledge, and insight. Yet I’ve admired how she shares her sheer delight in music and encourages people who are just now entering the world of sublime musical works which she inhabits full time.