MONTECITO, Calif. — Music Academy of the West in Montecito held a free concert Saturday night.
The concert featured the Young People’s Chorus of New York with local Santa Barbara music program “Sing!”
The leaders of both groups spoke passionately about how music can unite the masses.
Francisco Nunez, Founder and Director of Young People’s Chorus of NYC, said, “He [music] allows us to share the impact of the joy we can give each other.
He explained how his mother planted the seed that would change his life forever, saying, “My mom bought a piano from the Salvation Army and brought it home so I wouldn’t be on the streets. .
Nunez grew up in a bicultural immigrant family in New York.
He felt a lack of unity in his community despite the diversity of the “Big Apple”.
“What I learned in the 60s and 70s when I was there, very young… People were very separate, very diverse and didn’t necessarily come together,” Nunez said.
This feeling led Nunez to create the Young People’s Chorus.
“I wanted an opportunity after I finished college to start a non-profit organization that would bring kids from all socio-economic, ethnic, racial, all mixed backgrounds together, coming together, singing at the highest level,” Nunez said. .
Now, the young teens of Young People’s Chorus are mentoring even younger kids in Sing!, a free after-school singing program for Santa Barbara kids.
“It was such an amazing experience to sing with them because I feel like they learned from us, but we also learned from them and it’s a really wonderful experience,” the singer said. teenage choir Maya Levanon.
“I see music as something revolutionary that can change mentalities and also bring peace. So if I plan to continue making music professionally, I would like to do something that changes minds and inspires young children,” said teenage choir singer Krisna Rivera.
Audiences watched children and teenagers perform a variety of classical and world music at the Music Academy of the West.
One of the crowd favorites was the choir’s rendition of several songs from “West Side Story.”
“They all have different backgrounds and experiences, and they’ve created an incredible magical ensemble up there that will touch an audience,” said Erin McKibben, choir director of Sing!