Cal Poly Choral Conductor and Students to Travel to Kenya in July

From left to right, Scott Glysson, director of choral activities, students Jenna Hansen, Mady Frei, Zahra Rothschild, Sheridan Liaw, Erin Ichimura and Michaela Donofrio, and music Professor India D’Avignon.
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Scott Glysson, Cal Poly director of choral activities, will travel to Kenya from July 1-8 to lead a choral conducting workshop in Nairobi at the invitation of the Kenyan government and Kenyatta University. Six Cal Poly students will accompany him and perform with members of Kenyan choirs.

This will be a return visit to Kenya for Glysson, who first traveled there in September as a U.S. representative in the American Choral Directors Association International Conductors Exchange Program. During his weeklong stay, Glysson ran a conducting workshop for 120 Kenyan choral directors and conducted an all-Kenyan choral/orchestral performance of Vivaldi’s “Gloria.”

After his trip, Glysson was invited back by Kenya’s Permanent Presidential Music Commission, in conjunction with Kenyatta University, to build on the success of his last visit.

“Traveling to Kenya was a transforming experience for me,” Glysson said. “This trip will give our voice students the opportunity to work one-on-one with their peers in Kenya. They will experience the wonderful beauty of Africa, including its wonderful wildlife and scenery. More importantly, they will visit the places where everyday people live, work and study.”

Glysson will lead a weeklong choral conducting workshop for conductors in and around Nairobi. During the workshop, Kenyan conductors will have an opportunity to conduct a lab choir comprised of several Kenyan choral groups and the Cal Poly students, while Glysson will coach them on gesture, technique and style. The workshop will culminate in a concert.

“I’m excited to meet the singers we will be working with and to learn some of the culture and history of Kenya,” said student Michaela Donofrio, of San Antonio.

The students, all music majors studying voice, are Donofrio; Mady Frei, of Elk Grove, California; Jenna Hansen, of Sacramento, California; Sheridan Liaw, of Newark, California; and Erin Ichimura and Zahra Rothschild, both of San Francisco. 

“Traveling to Africa has been a dream of mine, and the fact that I’ll be there learning about Kenyan culture, music and nature brings so much joy to my heart,” Hansen said.

Music Professor India D’Avignon, the Music Department’s incoming chair, will accompany the group. They will take a two-day safari to the Masa Mara Game Reserve following their time in Nairobi.

As a conductor of university, high school and community ensembles, Glysson has performed both nationally and internationally. On May 25, he conducted Joseph Haydn’s “Te Deum” in Carnegie Hall, and he’s been invited to conduct Mozart’s “Vesperae solennes de confessore,” K. 339, with the PanEuropean Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw, Poland, in June 2020.

To learn more about the trip and/or to make a donation, visit the Cal Poly Choirs website. The trip is sponsored by Cal Poly’s Music Department, College of Liberal Arts and Instructionally Related Activities program. For more information, call the Music Department at 805-756-2406.

— Cal Poly Choirs:

Scott Glysson, Cal Poly director of choral activities, leading a workshop in September 2018 with students from Loreto High School in Limuru, an all-girls school in Central Kenya.
Scott Glysson, Cal Poly director of choral activities, leading a workshop in September 2018 with students from Loreto High School in Limuru, an all-girls school in Central Kenya.

Contact: Michele Abba

June 11, 2019

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