The Savannah Children’s Choir will present their 2010 Artist-in- Residence, Esperanza Spalding, in concert on Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m. at the Lucas Theater. Tickets are $5 – $75, available at the SCAD Box Office by calling (912) 525-5050.
In addition to her public concert, she will work with the SCC in an open rehearsal on Monday, March 8 from 5- 7:30 at St. Paul’s, 34th & Abercorn. This rehearsal is free and open to the public. While here, she will also visit area public and private schools, meeting with choral and band students.
“We’ve chosen Esperanza for her compelling music, and her even more compelling story. In past years’ residencies, we’ve focused on opera. This year, we wanted to focus on the American tradition of jazz,” comments SCC Artistic Director Roger Moss. “Also, because she is a singer as well as an instrumentalist and composer, we’re able to bring her message to an even broader group of young musicians throughout Savannah.”
Her story is anything but typical. She was born in 1984 and raised on what she calls “the other side of the tracks” in a multi-lingual household and neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Growing up in a singleparent home amid economically adverse circumstances, she learned early lessons in the meaning of perseverance and moral character from the role model whom she holds in the highest regard to this day – her mother.
“She was very strongwilled, very independent,” says Spalding. “She did a million things. She was a baker, a carpenter, she worked in foster care homes, she worked in food service, she worked with Cesar Chavez as a labor organizer.”
At 16, Spalding left high school for good. Armed with her GED and aided by a generous scholarship, she enrolled in the music program at Portland State University. “I was definitely the youngest bass player in the program,” she says. “I was 16, and I had been playing the bass for about a year and a half. Most of the students in the program had already had at least eight years of training under their belts, and I was trying to play in these orchestras and do these Bach cello suites. It wasn’t really working, but if nothing else, my teachers were saying, ‘Okay, she does have talent.’”
For more information, go to www.savannahchoir. org, or call (912) 228- 4758.