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On Saturday morning, every spot in the 1,400-seat Scottish Rite Center auditorium was occupied by the singers and conductors from every participating chorus in the Golden Gate International Children’s and Youth Choral Competition and Festival. Even so, there was absolute silence. The competition winners were about to be announced.
Over the past several days, all of the competing boys, girls, and young men and women had made fast friends with each other, taking selfies, and exchanging email addresses at the picnic on Merritt Lake, on the San Francisco bay cruise, and between rehearsals.
Now, they were all rooting for each other. As each winner was announced, there were huge cheers, clapping, and stomping. And that included YPC, who won five gold medals in every competition category: Historical, Folk, Contemporary, and a new Golden Gate category: Gospel/Spiritual.
So what did YPC chorus members learn from this unforgettable experience?
“I had an amazing, what you could call, “life-changing” time on YPC’s Golden Gate Festival tour. I made friends and memories I will never forget. On tour we met people from Indonesia, Austria, China, and many other places. Singing with these other children, made me grow not only as an artist, but as a person. On tour I also grew closer to people in YPC. Before this tour, I had never seen traditional Indonesian clothing. Now I have and their clothing is gorgeous. At the end of the day, I look back at this tour and it wasn’t about us winning; it was about becoming a real family. And I am glad to call YPC my second family. – Kayla, Cantare
“I had to decide to go on tour with YPC or go with my original plan of going to summer camp. It was a hard decision, but after coming here and meeting everyone, it reassured me that I made the right decision. It was a great experience, becoming closer to everyone at YPC and getting to know more about other countries from the other choirs. – Hannah, Cantare
“In the 24 hours before the competition, I pushed myself beyond what I thought were my limits. It is a great lesson for life.” Isabel, Concert Chorus