The Light - An Alumni Publication Winter 2014/2015 - Page 25

Harmony Welcome to the Harmony section of The Light. Each edition we will profile a member of the YFU Chorale. The YFU Chorale provided the engine for YFU’s growth in Europe and South America from 1958 to 1973. Celebrating the beloved Robert Pratt Conductor of the YFU Corale Hear a fascinating 1970 interview with late YFU Chorale conductor Robert Pratt while traveling in Brazil. Listen Here ► Enjoy YES international student Alfred Maganga from Tanzania singing a solo at his high school’s winter concert. Robert H. Pratt, born September 5, 1926, was an Ann Arbor High School vocal music teacher when he took over the baton of the Michigan Youth Chorale (soon-to-be the Michigan Youth For Understanding Chorale) in 1964. Each year’s chorale was selected through an audition process personally overseen by Pratt. The chosen singers were trained and rehearsed every Saturday during the school year, with intensive weekend rehearsals in the late spring. During the summer, the new chorale toured either Europe or South America, alternating each year. The Chorale received wonderful reviews and sterling acclaim around the world, earning especially great reviews in Germany. Maestro Pratt’s choirs produced a sound that was warm and bright overall with shimmering, yet cultured and mature tones. We have long marveled at his ability to craft that sound from high school vocal music students. He always says of his chorale members: “I had the best of the best!” — From A Biographical Interview With Robert Pratt: Achieving Choral Excellence by Day Best and Susan Bayha Read the full interview of Robert Pratt online here. Thank you to the authors for their generosity in allowing our readers access to this wonderful piece of YFU history. DANIEL BIAGGI “The idea of multinational, cultural exchange happens almost every day in opera... opera continues the work of cultural exchange by putting people in front of an American audience.” Read more ► YFU Program: US (from Switzerland), 1988 Education: Exchange High School: Somers, CT Certificate of Musicology: University of Berne, Switzerland San Francisco Conservatory of Music, BA Manhattan School of Music, MA Occupation: General and Artistic Director, Palm Beach Opera Home: Palm Beach, FL