Above: guest conductor Dr. Bryson Mortensen leading the 2016 Young Singers Project in performance at Norfolk's Ohef Sholom Temple.
EDUCATION YOUNG SINGERS PROJECT
Now entering its nineteenth year, the Young Singers Project is the Virginia Chorale's flagship educational outreach program. The YSP is a unique opportunity for select high school students from across the region to be mentored by the professional singers of the Chorale in an intensive rehearsal and performance process. YSP alumni have gone on to study at the finest conservatories in the United States and are active musicians (both professional and amateur) across Virginia and beyond.
The Young Singers Project showcases some of the best high school singers in southeastern Virginia. Students are selected in a highly competitive audition process each fall; once selected they sing alongside and are mentored by professional singers from the Chorale. Our 2019 YSP ensemble will be conducted by Virginia Wesleyan University’s Dr. Bryson Mortensen and Virginia Chorale's Artistic Director Charles Woodward, and will take on a new and exciting opportunity for the students. In addition to the pieces sung by the full chorus, students will be organized into smaller groups to prepare choral selections from the Renaissance, often one singer per part, and working side-by-side with singers and conductors from the Chorale.
In 2017, The Virginia Chorale was proud to join WHRO Community TV in a special partnership: the 2017 Young Singers Project was filmed by WHRO - from auditions to performance - and produced as a documentary to be broadcast locally, streamed online, and made available to National Public Television for national broadcast.
The Virginia Chorale is pleased to have Dr. Bryson Mortensen as a conductor for the 2019 Young Singers Project. Dr. Mortensen holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting & Voice from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a Master of Music in Choral Conducting and Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Brigham Young University (Provo, UT). He has conducted the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Chorus and the Festival Choir of Madison, WI, and has sung with the Bach Chamber Choir, the Baroque Artists of Urbana-Champaign, and the Deseret Chamber Singers. Dr. Mortensen currently serves as Director of Choirs at Virginia Wesleyan College, where he conducts the Virginia Wesleyan Chorale and Virginia Wesleyan Singers and teaches courses in choral music education and music history.
Known in the Hampton Roads community as a choral conductor and pianist, Charles Woodward has served as the Artistic Director of the Virginia Chorale since 2011. He is the Music Director of Ohef Sholom Temple, Norfolk and of Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, Norfolk, and formerly, the choral director at the Governor's School for the Arts. As a pianist, Mr. Woodward is a frequent collaborator in both vocal and instrumental chamber concerts, and has performed with the Virginia Arts Festival, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Norfolk Chamber Consort and Art Song of Williamsburg, at The Phillips Collection (Washington, D.C.), Jordan Hall (Boston) and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and in Germany and Italy. He served as Principal Coach for the premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY and as Associate Conductor for the premiere of Kristin Kuster’s opera KEPT: A GHOST STORY, both for the Virginia Arts Festival. Mr. Woodward's performances have been heard on American Public Media's Performance Today. A graduate of Northwestern University, he has served on the adjunct music faculties of the College of William and Mary, Old Dominion University, and Christopher Newport University.
I absolutely loved YSP. It was an amazing experience that I will always remember fondly. The difficulty of the music was very motivating and really made the choir something special. We weren't just another high school choir, we really accomplished a lot of things. Using the Chorale members and the professionalism of the director had a huge impact on the way I sing and the way I approach choral music. Jon Paul, YSP 2012-14 Currently pursuing a degree in Nuclear Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY.
Performance: Sunday January 27, 2019 4:00PM Ohef Sholom Temple, Norfolk
The Young Singers Project was the best music program I have ever been a part of. Having a mentor to help us learn these challenging pieces and grow as musicians is such a great experience and one I will never forget. Rylee Worstell, YSP 2015-16 Currently a senior at Jamestown High School in Williamsburg, VA.
Audition Registration for YSP 2019 is complete at this time.
I loved YSP! The entire experience was a challenge and it pushed me in my music-reading ability. Cailin Gwaltney, YSP 2014 Currently pursuing a degree in Vocal Performance at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.