Original orchestral piece will be performed for first time in February

GRANADA HILLS, Calif., Sept. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Joyful noise echoed across the Granada Hills Charter (GHC) campus this past weekend as GHC students joined members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale for a day of singing, composing, and music-making.

The students from GHC’s Honors Choir and Chamber Singers worked with Teaching Artists from the Master Chorale’s Oratorio Project to develop their own oratorio, a work of orchestral music with choir and soloists that historically replaced operas during Lent and focused on religious themes and stories. Famous examples include Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248.

“The opportunity to work with a team of amazing professional artists has sparked a new level of creativity from our students,” said Dr. Desiree Balfour, chorale director at GHC. “This work has already challenged and inspired them, opening up new ways to think about and approach the music they love. I’m thrilled and so thankful that the Master Chorale provided our students a truly incredible day of learning.”

GHC was the only high school in California the LA Master Chorale chose to work with one-on-one this year.

“Having the opportunity to work with music professionals and showcase my ability to write music and lyrics is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever been a part of during my time at Granada,” said Lora Rodriguez, a senior in her fourth year of GHC’s Vocal Music Program.

Throughout the day, the students worked with Chorale singers; a lyricist and writer; and one of the country’s leading choral composers. Together, they began writing lyrics and composing melodies and harmonies as they brought a new oratorio to life. While oratorios began as an expression of religion and belief, today they take on a full range of subjects while maintaining a strong narrative, soloists, and powerful theatrics. As their topic, the students will delve into a pivotal period in American history that they believe sheds light and perspective on current events.

Their creation will be developed further in the weeks to come ahead of a once-in-a-lifetime performance in February that will feature 10 singers from the Master Chorale alongside the students.

“In the months ahead, our students are going to gain priceless lessons in not just how to create a beautiful work of art but also in how to work together as a team focused on a single, inspiring project,” Balfour said. “There is an intrinsic, almost indescribable value to music and art, which I am so glad our students experience, but these lessons will also influence many different parts of their lives, including their studies at GHC and career and life goals. More than anything, though, I cannot wait to experience what they create.”

ABOUT GRANADA HILLS CHARTER: Named by the California Department of Education (CDE) as a California Distinguished School based on its outstanding student outcomes, Granada Hills Charter (GHC) is the largest public charter school in the nation and is located in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County. As a fiscally independent conversion charter, the School has a student enrollment of more than 5,800 walking the breezeways on two sites, the Zelzah high school campus and the Devonshire TK-8 campus. Serving students in grades transitional kindergarten through 12 (TK-12), the School has an annual waitlist of 4,000+ hopeful students seeking the excellent and diverse curricular, extracurricular, and athletic opportunities of a vibrant comprehensive school. GHC’s student population is one of the most diverse, with more than 40 languages other than English spoken at home and over 60 nationalities represented. Nearly 50% of students are eligible for the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program. As a 501c3 non-profit benefit corporation, the School’s Governing Board is the legal entity overseeing all school policy and its $92 million operating budget. GHC is ranked “#1 Best Public Elementary School in California,” “#1 Best Charter Middle School in California” and “#1 Best Charter High School in Los Angeles County” by in the 2021 Best Schools rankings.

SOURCE Granada Hills Charter