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music4The Ithaca Children and Youth Chorus (ICYC) will be taking the stage one last time under the beloved leadership of Dr. Janet Galván, who has announced she will be stepping down as Artistic Director after 30 years.  The ensemble will present its spring concert entitled "Passing the Torch – and the Light Shines On" on Tuesday, May 17 at 7:30 pm in Ford Hall, Ithaca College. This very special evening of music performed by young vocalists from the Ithaca area will mark the renowned group's final performance with Dr. Galván. Kathleen Ballantyne will accept the baton as the next Artistic Director.

"When I began the vision of the children's choir," states Dr. Galván, "I wanted to teach young people to sing well in a healthy way, to give them a place to sing with students from different schools and backgrounds, and to acquaint them with a diverse repertoire. I wanted to build bridges with music – teaching not just music, but cultural and historical context. Through music of many cultures, singers gain some understanding of the viewpoints of others."

While many ICYC singers go on to sing in honor choirs, musicals, and college, and several have gone on to become professional performers, "My goal was not to lead people to become professional musicians," Galván continues, "but to give them the skills to sing for the rest of their lives or simply to enjoy music more. One student summed it up when he wrote me a note after graduating saying that he expected to become a better singer while he was in the chorus, but what surprised him was that the chorus had helped him become a better person. That letter meant everything to me."

Developed and led by Dr. Galván since 1986, the Chorus (formerly known as the Ithaca Children's Choir) has been a mainstay of the Community School of Music and Arts' (CSMA) music program and a vital part of the arts community in Ithaca. Comprised of three treble choirs (Prelude, Intermezzo, and Chorale) and the Young Men's Chorus for changing and changed male voices, the ICYC provides comprehensive vocal training for beginning to advanced singers from age seven to nineteen. ICYC's doors have always been open to any child in the community with a desire to sing, and tuition assistance is available based on need. The Chorus has long been involved in the fabric of musical life in Ithaca, often collaborating with other community groups, and has sung with choirs from many cities and countries as host and through international touring.

The May 17 concert will present a wide range of repertoire from traditional Israeli and French-Canadian songs to pieces by composers from Antonio Vivaldi, Michael Haydn, and Ralph Vaughan Williams to contemporary choral works by Jim Papoulis, Allan Naplan, and Nick Page. The program also includes a piece by Gospel composer, Raymond Wise. Tickets are available at CSMA and at the door: $6 per person or $20 per family.

Dr. Galván is the Director of Choral Activities at Ithaca College, where she conducts the Ithaca College Choir and the Ithaca College Women's Chorale.  Recognized nationally and internationally as a superb conductor, Dr. Galván has conducted honor choirs throughout the country in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Constitution Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall, and Minnesota's Orchestra Hall.  She has also conducted choirs in many different countries.

Other distinguished ICYC conducting staff are Kathleen Ballantyne, Emily Richards, and Adam Good.  States Dr. Galván, "I could not be happier to have Katie Ballantyne take over as Artistic Director and to have Emily Richardson continue in the program.  They are wonderful musicians and teachers who will provide outstanding music education for all young people participating."

The new Artistic Director, Ms. Ballantyne, is a composer, conductor, and music editor. She made her debut as a composer with Women's Works of Ithaca in March 2014 with "Petition," a choral work based on an 1874 petition to the US government in support of women's suffrage. Recently, she has guest conducted premieres of her own works with the Rochester Area All-State Junior High Women's Chorale and Siena College Chamber Singers. Ms. Ballantyne taught choral music and theater at Johnson City High School and is an active guest clinician and voice teacher.

Ballantyne states, "I look forward to continuing our strong tradition of teaching a solid foundation of musicianship and excellence in an environment of kindness and support." The Chorus welcomes new singers this fall! Placement auditions will be held in June and September.

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