Mesilla Valley Teen Singers perform free concert Friday, May 16, 2014
Mesilla Valley Teen Singers, a talented group of about 45 local teens, will perform a spring concert entitled “Ladies and Gentlemen” Friday, April 16, at 8 p.m. at University Presbyterian Church, 2010 Wisconsin Avenue, in Las Cruces. The concert is free and is a family-friendly event.
MVTS Director Terry Kay Gilbert has long known that the combined group created beautiful music together. In past concerts, she has also separated the group into males and females for a few of the songs. This concert, however, will focus on the diverse talents of the ladies and the gentlemen in the choir, with selections for the women only, men only and some blending the masculine and feminine voices.
Gilbert says, “In preparing for our fall 2013 concert, I realized that the men in our choir were very musical…strong, capable singers. The young women proved to be an equally strong and talented force. So, I thought we should have a concert that focuses on their strengths separately, then combine them to show their united talent. Thus, we have the theme of ‘Ladies and Gentlemen.’”
The MVTS added an assistant director this year, Christopher Yee, a student teacher at Las Cruces High School. Piano accompaniment is provided by well-known local musician Barbara Toth.
The following day, the teen group will perform for Arrowhead Park Early College High School’s first graduation ceremony. Then, they will have a summer break before recruiting new singers for the fall term.
MESILLA VALLEY TEEN SINGERS PERFORM “WINTER WIND” CONCERT
Mesilla Valley Teen Singers' annual free Christmas concert, "Winter Wind," will be held Friday evening, December 13, at 7 p.m. at University Presbyterian Church.
All the pieces which will be performed have something to do with the cold wind that blows through at Christmastime. Shakespeare’s poem "Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind,” originally from his play "As You Like It,” was the inspiration for the theme. The choir will present no fewer than three different settings of this famous text. Other names well-known in the literary and musical worlds come together here — names like John Rutter, Edgar Allen Poe, and Christina Rossetti — to evoke crisp, frosty images that none-the-less warm hearts with Christmas cheer.
Mesilla Valley Teen Singers is made up of about 50 young vocalists from area high schools, as well as home-schooled students. The group is directed by former public school teacher Terry Kay Gilbert. They perform two concerts each year following a full semester of rehearsals. They will begin preparing for their spring concert when the new semester begins and new singers are always welcome to join.
A snack reception will follow the concert, to which all are invited. University Presbyterian Church is located at 2010 Wisconsin Ave., behind Lorenzo's Italian Restaurant.
Spring 2013 Celtic Circle Concert a Success
The University Presbyterian Church was packed with music lovers when the Mesilla Valley Teen Singers presented their "A Celtic Circle" concert Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m. This spring's concert featured a wide variety of music with Irish and Scottish origins, from jigs to ballads and folk-lore. The performance earned a standing ovation by the enthusiastic audience.
The following week, they reprised the performance for the residents of Golden Mesa, a local retirement community.
Directed by Terry Kay Gilbert, Mesilla Valley Teen Singers is a community choir made up of almost 50 teens from schools throughout the area as well as home-schooled students.
The group takes a break until the fall semester begins, when recruiting and rehearsals will begin agin.
Mesilla Valley Teen Singers kick off their fifth season
When you’ve got the music inside you, it just has to get out. Teenagers in the Las Cruces area who love to sing have the opportunity to be part of the Mesilla Valley Teen Singers, led by Terry Kay Gilbert.
This singing group is not tied to any school and is made up of a mix of teens from local schools and home-schooled students. Terry Kay started the program, which is kicking off its fifth season this fall, to offer more choices to musically-inclined teens.
“I wanted to start a group where kids who weren’t plugged in musically would have a place to go,” she explains. Her own children are home-schooled and participate in the chorus.
The popularity of the program is expressed by the enthusiasm of the teens that make up the chorus. The first year, membership grew from seven singers to 25. Now there are about 40, some in college and who are aging out this year. Aria Furth, 19, and an electrical engineering student at NMSU, has been involved in many types of music throughout her life, from marching band to jazz band. She says a bit wistfully, “I enjoy being in this choir, even though this is my last semester because I’ll be turning 20 and she’ll have to kick me out.”
Another 19-year-old NMSU student, Samuel Wong, says, “Singing is one of my favorite things to do, and as much as I enjoy singing, I really enjoy studying under Mrs. Gilbert. Mrs. Gilbert is really knowledgeable and fun. I also enjoy the kids here.”
The first practice of the semester began simply, “Greetings,” Terry Kay said, “Shall we sing?”
She then led the choir members through some stretching followed by voice exercises. After distributing binders with music, they jumped right into the challenging Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” which will be part of their holiday program. Terry Kay likes to provide a mix of music, so they’ll also learn songs like the ever-popular “Santa Baby,” “Hot Chocolate,” and a variety of classical pieces.
The free holiday program will be held in conjunction with the Doña Ana Youth Choir at St. Paul's United Methodist Church on Saturday, December 12, at 3 p.m. Then they’ll start working on their spring concert. Once each semester in order to share the fruits of their labor, they perform at Golden Mesa, a retirement community. “They love it, we love it,” Terry Kay enthused. They have also performed at the Rio Grande Theatre for the Every Other Tuesday free concerts.
The chorus is seeking more teens who want to sing. Who are they looking for? Terry Kay explains, “Someone who loves music and loves to work hard to produce a great product, but also have fun. It’s not just about singing, but sharing their talents.”
She adds that since some students are home schooled and others are from a variety of high schools, the members have made friends that they probably wouldn’t have met any other way.
Potential members don’t have to audition or even know how to read music. Because Terry Kay has a bachelors degree is music and taught for a number of years in the Las Cruces School District, she structures the program such that the singers will naturally pick up skills as they go along. “I want to expose them to real classical choral music,” she says, working in information on voice, posture, quarter notes and fortissimos along the way.
Wong says, “The caliber of singing is definitely higher than your average collection of high schoolers. Because it is open to anybody, there are some beginning students and many more experienced singers.”
In fact, Samuel Wong comes from a very musical family. He has siblings in the choir and his sister, PhoebeJoy, is studying music at NMSU and is the accompanist for the group. It is her third year in this role and Terry Kay says, “She is young, but highly accomplished. We are blessed to have her.”
Terry Kay explains that many of the singers in the chorus are “participators,” those who enjoy being part of a group and being involved. Some want another opportunity so sing, even though they are in band or orchestra at school. Since this group only rehearses one day a week, it isn’t a challenging commitment to add to their already busy schedules.
Furth says, “I enjoy that it gives me an opportunity to be in a choir, but with a low level of commitment, time-wise, so it doesn’t add to my stress level.”
The Mesilla Valley Teen Singers is open to anyone aged 14 to 19. The cost is $35 per semester. They practice each week during the regular school semester on Thursday from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church on Locust.