El Faro Youth Chorus is just getting started.
The word got out about the local band coming out in the community. The group had their first solo performance at Fusion ABQ on May 7.
Under the direction of Gabrielle Dietrich, this new youth choir was proud to host its first solo concert.
Their youth helps them to sing in several languages.
“One of the coolest things about working with young people is that their brains are like a sponge,” Dietrich said. “So they can absorb information extremely quickly and the music always sounds better in its original language, and you kind of unconsciously learn about people by singing it in their original language.”
El Faro is aimed at children from 7 to 18 years old.
“It’s kind of a culturally immersive approach and I think that’s really important,” Dietrich said. “Especially here in New Mexico, it’s important for kids to sing in both English and Spanish because a lot of kids come from Spanish-speaking homes.”
With El Faro, children have the opportunity to express themselves fully.
“It has the ability to be a safe space where kids can come and express their feelings and talk with their friends about what’s going on in your head,” Dietrich said. “So they can see through the looking glass that they’re not alone, that whatever they’re going through, other kids are going through the same things and maybe most importantly, other kids are sharing their love of singing and music and that they can do this thing together.”
“One of the things we try to do is organize buses between school sites and our rehearsal center because the kids can’t necessarily walk there,” Dietrich said. “So we need a way to get the kids to work from the school site when mum and dad could work safely for the rehearsing worshippers.”
This choir is newly formed under the aegis of the nonprofit Coro Lux Choir and the artistic direction of Bradley Ellingboe and seeks to educate young people in Albuquerque about classical music, as well as give them a safe place to sing. .
“Yeah, so we rehearse weekly on Thursdays for about an hour and a half each time and we’ve been learning the same music since January,” Dietrich said. “We had another gig in the meantime and we did a performance at a workshop for a closing that’s happening in Santa Fe.”
Dietrich emphasizes mental and emotional health as well as awareness and well-being of the physical body through music education.
“Every kid goes through tough stuff in one way or another and they need a way to process it,” Dietrich said. “They need a place where they can kind of work on these things, whether they’re talking about it out loud or just existing in an environment that makes them feel good.”
El Faro also wants to offer more than just a place to sing.
“We would also like to be able to provide meals for the children. So after the choir has to run from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., they get hungry at the end,” Dietrich said. “For the younger ones, we could send them home with a box earlier. For older children, they might hang out. And we would like dinner and homework help just to give another benefit to families who might need it.
With increased numbers, El Faro could split into two groups.
The band hopes to do a few more gigs once school returns next semester.
“We’re hoping to do two more shows in the fall and over time that kind of thing grows,” Dietrich said. “We only have 11 kids in school right now, but as the number grows and our program grows, we want to do things like sing the national anthem for sporting events, play for residencies for the elderly.”
Dietrich and El Faro have big things planned for the future.
“I think we have three shows planned for the fall, where they’re going to do another standalone show in December, and they’re going to sing with Coro Lux, the adult choir, in October and December,” Dietrich said.
Tuition is $75 per semester, although El Faro promises not to turn away a potential chorister due to lack of funds.
El Faro also offers a one-time payment of $75, as well as three payments of $25 or 10 payments of $7.50.