Author: Kristina Nakagawa

The Season of Giving

The Season of Giving
The TTBB Central Region Honor Choir, submitted by Jared C.

By Kristina Nakagawa, Artistic Director, Resounding Achord

What is a gift? Noun: “a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present,” or “a natural ability or talent. Verb: “give (something) as a gift, especially formally or as a donation or bequest.” At Resounding Achord, we have been fortunate in the past 6 years to experience gifts in all forms of the word.

We have been presented with tremendous gifts from our donors and sponsors. There are many ways to support our organization, and we are grateful for every amount of support we receive. This year, we have experienced an uptick in donations through social media crowdsourcing, meaning an additional $1500 (and counting!) to support our programs. Gifts like these make our outreach programs possible, including the Summer Conducting Lab, the IMPACT program for students to attend our concerts free of charge, and the Regional and All-State Honor Choir scholarships. Yesterday, we received a thank you note from one of our scholarship recipients in the Central Region Honor Choir. Jared C. says,

“I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for the scholarship. Words cannot express how much it meant to me. This was my first honor choir and it was so incredibly fun to work with such talented singers, not to mention Dr. Palkki. He’s so insightful and fun to work with. This whole experience has really strengthened my resolve to someday be a choir director myself, and that’s all thanks to you.”

Jared, thank you for articulating precisely why we support this program. You are the future, and you will give the gift of music to so many people around you as you grow. Our ability to (verb) gift because of our supporters’ (noun) gifts is one of the most important things we do each season.

We have experienced incredible talent from our own singers, as well as from our collaborators and friends. On Saturday, December 22nd, our audience members will have the opportunity to experience our singers’ gifts once again as we present “Deck the Hall” in the Parish Hall at St. Francis Episcopal Church. The program includes many of our favorites from past seasons, including “Deck the Halls in 7/8,” the Biebl “Ave Maria,” and Kirby Shaw’s jazzy arrangement of “Carol of the Bells.” Also at that concert, we will have a Giving Tree, where audience members will have the opportunity to take an ornament and make a specific gift that represents an expense for Resounding Achord Productions, including the cost for one student to attend an honor choir, the cost of one piece of music, and the cost to hire a collaborative artist. In return for any gift made at the concert, each donor will receive a special thank you gift from us, especially created for the season.

Join us for “Deck the Hall,” Saturday, December 22, at 2pm at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Willow Glen. To purchase tickets, please visit our Event Page.

 

Help for the Houseless

Help for the Houseless

By Kristina Nakagawa, Artistic Director, Resounding Achord

Resounding Achord is kicking off our 6th season with something that might feel different from the concerts of the past five seasons. This past February at the Western Division conference of the American Choral Directors Association, I was fortunate to hear a performance by Los Angeles’ Urban Voices Project. The Urban Voices Project’s Skid Row Choir brings the healing power of music directly to individuals disenfranchised by homelessness both inside and outside the neighborhood of Skid Row.

Their performance offered a stark contrast to the professional and collegiate level choirs that I heard that weekend. While their sound might not have been musically perfect, it was the most joyful presentation of the entire event. The interest session that followed after the concert brought me to tears. Individuals from the choir told their stories, and it brought a face and a reality to the crisis that I hadn’t experienced before. Leeav Sofer, Urban Voices’ Artistic Director, challenged everyone in attendance to go out into their communities and make a difference. He even went so far as to say that if we thought that homelessness wasn’t an issue in our communities, we were kidding ourselves! Of course, anyone living in San Jose today knows that homelessness exists, and it is a real and urgent matter.

I decided to bring Mr. Sofer’s challenge directly to our community at Resounding Achord. This inspired our program for our fall concert, “Take Me Home,” which features music centered on home, shelter, and community. Our next challenge was to decide where the concert would be held. There was something that spoke to us about having the concert as close as possible to many of the people we were trying to help, which led us to Grace Baptist Church in the heart of Downtown San Jose. Jan Clayton, Resounding Achord’s Executive Director, and I had the pleasure of meeting with pastor Liliana Da Valle and her staff at Grace, and she explained to us that at her church, they refer to the homeless as “houseless” because they will always have a home at Grace. I love this sentiment, and so we found our concert home at Grace, too.

All of the proceeds from the concert will be given to support the houseless ministry at Grace through the Winter Faith Collaborative, a Santa Clara County movement of faith communities, and the Village House Interfaith Shelter of Hope, a shelter for medically fragile women in Santa Clara County. I know we aren’t going to solve the houseless crisis with just one concert, but the community of Resounding Achord and I feel like if we can make a difference for even a small group it is worth every effort.

Additionally, we wanted the concert to be completely inclusive and allow people from all walks of life to attend, perhaps even coming in from off the street. There won’t be traditional tickets sold for this event either, but concertgoers are encouraged to reserve their seats in advance. Admission is free, and attendees are encouraged to make a donation to support the houseless as they are able. Donations of lightly used or new socks will also be collected at the event.

I hope you will join us, I hope you will be inspired, and I hope you will be changed, just as I have been.

If you’d like to learn more about Urban Voices, you can visit their website at http://urbanvoicesproject.org, or watch this inspiring clip: Today Show Video. 

Join us for “Take Me Home,” Sunday, October 28, at 3pm at Grace Baptist Church in San Jose. To reserve your seat for this special concert, please visit our Event Page.

 

Why Honor Choirs?

Why Honor Choirs?

By Kristina Nakagawa, Artistic Director, Resounding Achord 

Resounding Achord received a lovely shout-out in the recent Fall 2017 edition of The California Choral Director’s Association Cantate Magazine. Molly Peters, CCDA Honor Choir Chair, wrote a fantastic article, “The How–and Why–of Honor Choirs.” Ms. Peters said, “We are happy to offer scholarships for a select number of students participating…thanks to a generous donation from Resounding Achord, directed by Kristina Nakagawa.” Thanks for the recognition, Molly!

Reading deeper into the article, there are some wonderful quotes from teachers from all over California about the benefits of the honor choir experience, not only for the participants, but also for the rest of the singers in their choirs. Educators mentioned the following specific benefits:

  • Working on an art song at the start of the year helps to found a healthy unison sound.
  • “I get to know their voices better.”
  • The students have such a great experience, and they come back and tell the other kids about it.
  • “Honor choir is a place where our students get a chance to use all of the stuff we teach in our classroom, and they can finally realize that it doesn’t have anything to do with us (their teacher), it’s about music.”

These benefits, along with many others, are why we at Resounding Achord are so passionate about our Honor Choir Scholarships. We love helping students to be their best and experience the best in the incredible unique setting of an honor choir.

If you’d like to help us in this endeavor, you can always donate directly – paypal.me/resoundingachord

OR, you can attend our upcoming Musicale Fundraiser!