An upcoming holiday choral concert in Milwaukee will be a musical mash-up of the younger and older, the novices and the masters.
Both ensembles will perform separately before joining forces at the end of the program.
Raymond Roberts, chair of the music department at the High School of the Arts, says the concert is a great opportunity - as well as challenge - for his young musicians.
"It's really about listening: What am I contributing as an individual singer to my section and my choir, and am I bringing focus to myself rather than to the entire choir?" Roberts says. "So opening their ears is probably their biggest challenge."
Of course, that advice also applies to the older, more experienced singers, Dr. Eduardo Garcia-Novelli says. As conductor and music director of the Master Singers, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Garcia-Novelli often tells his singers to have "ears bigger than their own bodies," and to sing with their ears.
"It's a little bit of a challenge for us as well, to get to that wonderful sound that's more of a communal sound, a sound for a group of individuals sounding together as opposed to a soloist," Garcia-Novelli says.
To help the young singers prepare, Roberts has focused on the fundamentals of singing and introduced them to different genres and music from around the globe.
"People respond to quality music," he says, adding it's fun to work with students at this age because of their contagious energy and getting to see their aspirations.
"It's just to keep them engaged in making good music and being part of something excellent," he says. "We all want to be part of something excellent in our lives and if you can find a passion and a vehicle for that, and singing seems to be that for most of my students, then we've already put them on a path to success in whatever field they end up pursuing."
Saturday's concert will begin at 6 PM.