NEC Preparatory School National Youth Choral Festival: Alway Something Sings

The NEC Preparatory School National Youth Choral Festival is an online choral experience designed to provide a multifaceted learning platform for singers who desire to gain knowledge and experience in improving their sense of individual responsibility within a larger ensemble: how to stay in the best physical and vocal health possible while continuing to improve fundamental skills such as rhythm, solfège, harmonic and melodic progressions, and phrasing, and how to collaborate in a virtual environment with other like-minded students their own age.

Since the festival began in September, these students have created a safe, virtual space — a community — where they have been able to study music and connect with each other, supporting and encouraging one another from as far away as Massachusetts to California and, through our partnership with the Walnut Hill School, even to China. 

Choral singing, whether in unison or in parts, is the oldest form of ensemble music making. It has lived for thousands of years despite human oppression and catastrophe. The pandemic has required us to try our hand at replicating the traditionally intimate experience of choral singing while separated by many miles and time zones. What this pandemic could not change is the passion for choral artistry, and it most certainly was not going to prevent the members of the National Youth Chorale from dedicating themselves to finding a way, despite the challenges, to share their art.

Every human has a voice, whether the use of that instrument flows from their vocal cords or their hands. Every human must be seen and should be heard.

- Erica J. Washburn

Watch Concert Stream:

NEC NYCF & Tourjée Singers

Joseph Nizich and Jennie Segal ’21 MM, assistant conductors

Nina Ambrose
Ilan Balzac

Rose Billings
Leyna Blume
Margaret Bowers
Benjamin Brown
Katherine Burstein
Alexis Cai
David Cho
Isaiah Choi

Katie Clifford
*Elena Davis
Aliana DellaRocco

Shuyi Fang
Liam Fitzgerald
Olivia Gan
Jack Gilmore

*Max Gorer
Crystal Huang
Mateo Ibarra
Erin Kim

Shohini Lala
Kate Li
Sophie Li
Chloe Locke

*Madeline Lytton
*Angelina Manolios

Marley Matejka
Tyler McMorrow

Sarine Meguerditchian
Riley Musi
Ravi Nguyen

* Tourjée Singers

Ava Paul
Bethany Petersen

*Alla Petrosyan
Alexandra Poliakoff

Hunter Reid
Marian Rookey
Kenneth Shen
Evelyn Simanowski
*Mia Snorek-Yates
Emma Thomas

Fangzhen Wang
William Whitney
Leping Clark Xiong
Christopher Yoo

Gawon Yoo
Chengyou Rain Zhang
Eddie Zhou


  1. Victor Paranjoti | Dravidian Dithyramb

    Notable for its use of typical Indian melodic motifs, this work for wordless double choir demands the highest precision of rhythm, and a wide range of tonal and dynamic values.  The Dravidian Dithyramb is an expression of uninhibited festivity.  An elusive but persistent pulse motivates this music, which is based on mere fragments of melody – the pulse driving onward faster and faster toward the final frenzied utterance.                                                                          
    – Victor Paranjoti

    Victor Paranjoti had a profound knowledge of Indian and Western classical music as
    well as folk music.  He was known for his role in promoting choral music in India in the middle of the 20th century. He was a music critic for The Times of India, a painter, and Deputy Director General of All-India Radio. 

  2. Heinrich von Herzogenberg | Siehe, um Trost war mir sehr bange


    Siehe, um Trost war mir sehr bange

    Siehe, um Trost war mir sehr bange.
    Du aber hast dich meiner Seele herzlich
    angenommen, daß sie nicht verdürbe. 

    Isaiah 38:17

    Behold, I was very anxious for comfort

    Behold, I was very anxious for comfort.
    But you have tenderly taken in my soul,
    So that it would not perish.
  3. Vittoria Aleotti | Hor che la vaga Aurora

    Vittoria Aleotti was one of five daughters of Giovanni Battista Aleotti, architect to Alfonso II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara.  Her genius at the keyboard was discovered when she was five, and when she was seven her teacher suggested that she be placed in the Augustinian convent of San Vito, renowned for its excellence in music.  She became a nun at age fourteen.
            Hor che la vaga Aurora is from Vittoria Aleotti’s collection of madrigals, Ghirlanda de madrigali a quarto voci published in 1593.

    Hor che la vaga Aurora

    Hor che la vaga Aurora
    Sovra un caro di foco
    Appar in ogni loco
    Co’l figlio di Latona:

    Che’l suo dorato crine 
    A l’Alpi e à le campagne
    à noi vicine mostra,
    Con dolce accenti

    Questi la ben temprata lira suona,
    Onde gli spiriti Pellegrini intenti
    Odono l’armonia

    Che l’alme nostre al ciel erg’et invia.

    Giovanni Battista Guarini

    Now with the Dawn the Sun Wakes

    Now with the dawn the sun wakes
    In a chariot of bright light,
    He rids the world of dark night
    This son of Latona.
    With golden sunbeams shining,

    The Alps, plains
    and nearby valleys he is outlining.
    So full and sweet his accents
    Played on his rich, well-tempered lyre, 

    They call forth, urging the pilgrim
    spirits join his cadence, tunefully sung to all men.
    He bids our souls take wing and soar to Heaven

    Translation by Howard E. Mason

  4. Dan Forrest | Alway Something Sings


    Alway Something Sings

    Let me go where’er I will,
    I hear a skyborn music still:

    It sounds from all things old,
    it sounds from all things young,

    From all that’s fair, from all that’s foul,
    alway something sings.

    It is not only in the rose,
    It is not only in the bird,

    Not only where the rainbow glows,
    Nor in the song of woman heard.
    But in the darkest, meanest things

    There alway, alway something sings.

    ‘Tis not in the high stars alone,
    Nor in the cup of budding flow’rs,

    Nor in the robin’s mellow tone
    Nor in the bow that smile in show’rs,
    But in the darkest, meanest things
    There alway, alway something sings.

    - Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Music”

    • Elena Davis, Max Gorer, Madeline Lytton, Alla Petrosyan, and Mia Snorek-Yates, soloists
    • Tran Hagan Dung '22, Finian Burns '21, violin, Walnut Hill School String Quartet
    • Emily Ames '22, viola, Walnut Hill School String Quartet
    • Charlotte Raine '23, cello, Walnut Hill School String Quartet
    • Jennifer Elowitch, coach
  5. African American Spiritual (arr. Kyle Pederson) | Soon We Will Be Done

    This re-imagining of the iconic African American spiritual is a call to work together to bring an end to racism, sexism, and other injustices that threaten the dignity and worth inherent in all people.  New text and spoken-word soloists invite us to consider a world in which the qualities typically associated with heaven are actively sought here on earth—as we imagine and dare to proclaim, “Soon we will be done with the troubles of the world.”                                                                       
    – Kyle Pederson


    Done with hatred and done with war;
    come lift the lonely, come lift up the poor.

    Soon we will be done with the troubles of the world
    when heaven comes to earth.
    No more weepin’ and wailin’
    when heaven comes to earth.

    with the racism, and sexism, and all the isms and prisons that bind us,

    that blind us from the hurt of another.

    I want to be done,
    with addiction, with any affliction that takes hold and won’t let go,
    and speaks in lies and fiction.

    I want to be done,
    with the things that divide us instead of unite us,
    like the walls we build, the hate instilled,
    we fill with judgment inside us.

    I want to be done,
    done with the violence, and the silence when facing injustice,
    but I wonder if you’d trust us if love was our compass.

    SOON, when we come together, when

    WE stand up for each other, we
    WILL offer these hands and feet and
    BE love, compassion and grace; come heaven to earth, Oh, Thy (we) will be

    African American spiritual, adapted and with additional words by Kyle Pederson

    • Erin Kim, soloist