March Update from San Francisco

Saturday afternoon in North Beach

Saturday afternoon in North Beach

A brief recap from Friday
(or how today's youth can inform and inspire):

Chanticleer held its annual Youth Choral Festival here in San Francisco on Friday. It's a twelve-hour day comprised of a handful of Bay Area high school ensembles coming together to sing with and for each other. We had the privilege of listening to and working with five local groups.

I have been doing this for twelve years, and no matter how often I doubt wanting to spend such a long day educating (which is not my strongest attribute), I almost always walk away inspired. What I witnessed Friday:

Unity. Community. Encouragement.

This year, these qualities were palpable amongst all five groups.

Chanticleer has long believed that choral music is not a competitive art. There are many choral competitions out there, but this festival is not one of them. We typically don't beat anyone over the head with that concept, nor did we do so Friday. We prefer to quietly set an example and share our joy in creating a community of music lovers. These students understood that implicitly. More than two hundred teenagers fully embraced the premise of the day. Some of the choirs' repertoire included songs about unity, teenagers of diverse backgrounds clasped hands, stood together, and sang their hearts out. 

As with any collection of ensembles, some were more advanced than others, but all of them sang with such investment and heart that it was impossible not to realize that was the point. Improvement comes with hard work, but not at the expense of joy and togetherness.

I was heartened by the wild, enthusiastic response that the best performances received, but the thing that struck me most was the same response given to performances that weren't yet at the level of their peers. These students collectively understood that they were all better off encouraging each other to be better and actually celebrating their current levels of progress rather than tearing each other apart in judgement. It was a judgement-free room.

Maybe I'm projecting adult concerns onto an unrelated afternoon of singing, but it feels like the young people in this space understood the deep division that societies across the world are experiencing and banded together, reminding me that together, we are better. We are stronger when we are fighting to help each other succeed rather than fighting against one another.


Aside from the Youth Choral Festival, we have been diligently working on a new set of Latin American Baroque music that we'll be performing in California missions in March and April. 

In addition to that, we have a short tour this month taking us to Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. If you live in any of those states, check the Chanticleer website for ticket info!

Recording Academy

I currently sit as the Chair of the Advocacy Committee for the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy. For years, the Academy has been working with federal lawmakers to improve working conditions and rates and regulations to allow all music creators to make a fair living from the work that they do to provide people with the art and entertainment that they enjoy on a daily basis. 2018 is poised to be a very influential year with many important policy proposals on the table to protect music creators across the country. Stay tuned! 

New Music Friday

I think February was my favorite month of writing my weekly music discovery blog. I found some great music, and I got a few incredibly nice messages and feedback from readers. 

I've posted a playlist of my favorite songs from each of the albums I blogged about last month. You can find it here: Monthly NMF Playlist

Things my wife taught me yesterday: 

Random fact I shamefully never knew:
Tabasco is the name of a state in Mexico. I had no idea. That has nothing to do with anything but my total ignorance of most things Mexican. Just thought I'd share.
Also, Tabasco is one of a few regions in Mexico where marimba bands are very popular.

Enjoy your March! And thanks for reading.

Brian HinmanComment