MONTECITO, Calif. - Music Academy of the West in Montecito hosted a free concert Saturday night.
The concert featured Young People’s Chorus from NYC with Local Santa Barbara music program “Sing!”
The leaders of both groups spoke passionately about how music can unite the masses.
Francisco Nunez, Young People’s Chorus of NYC Founder and Director, said, “It [music] allows us to share in the impact of the joy that we can give each other.”
He elaborated on how his mother planted the seed that would forever change his life stating, “My mother bought a piano from the Salvation Army and brought it home so I wouldn't be in the street.”
Nunez grew up in a bicultural family of immigrants in New York City.
He felt a lack of unity in his community despite the diversity of the “Big Apple.”
“What I've learned back in the sixties and seventies when I was around, very young… People were very segregated, very diverse, and not necessarily coming together,” said Nunez.
This sentiment led Nunez to create the Young People’s Chorus.
“I wanted an opportunity after I finished college to create a not for profit that would bring children of all different backgrounds socioeconomically, ethnically, racially, all mixed, coming together, singing at the highest level,” said Nunez
Now the young teens in the Young People’s Chorus are mentoring the even younger children in Sing!, a free after school singing program for kids in Santa Barbara.
“It's been such an amazing experience to sing with them because I feel like they've been learning from us, but we've also gotten to learn from them and it's a really wonderful experience,” said teen choir singer Maya Levanon.
“I see music as something that is revolutionary and can change minds and also bring peace. So if I do plan to continue doing music professionally, I would want to do something that changes minds and inspires younger children,“ said teen choir singer Krisna Rivera.
The public watched kids and teens 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 they all have different backgrounds, experiences, and they have created just an incredible magical ensemble up there that will touch an audience,” said Erin McKibben, Choral Director of Sing!