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Chorus Knows Way to Carnegie Hall

April 28, 1998|YUNG KIM

Joslyn Sinclair sat in a circle of friends giggling like an average 16-year-old, the way she does every Tuesday at Lake Forest Community Church.

She loves Leonardo DiCaprio, the poetry of Robert Shaw and singing with the Southern California Children's Chorus.

"Singing allows me to release a lot of emotion, to express myself," said Joslyn, of Newport Beach. "I feel lucky to have the talent to do this."

Joslyn, a chorale member for 10 years, is among 180 youngsters who dedicate two hours every Tuesday to have their voices trained by director Lori Loftus, who founded the group two years ago. The singers are organized into four groups, including one with about 60 all-star performers.

Loftus, who also performs with the Pacific Symphony and Chorale Group of Costa Mesa, could be described as a cross between a drill sergeant and a shepherd. She has strict rules, but she uses a soft, encouraging voice to get the most out of the young performers.

"We tell them when to sing, when to stop singing, even when to breathe," Loftus said. "There is a real beauty in that order that everyone can hear. I love the kids and their dedication to the discipline of music."

The all-star group is even more focused these days because of a June performance with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

The engagement was arranged by Sara Bong of MidAmerica Productions, who was impressed by the group's audition tape.

"On the tape, they had a special sensitivity and a balance among their parts," Bong said. "Carnegie Hall is a special place; it's the pinnacle. We are thrilled to have [the group] perform at the season finale."

After warming up at a recent practice, the singers flipped through their music books to Psalm 150 by Benjamin Britten. Right before signaling the children to release their voices into the soft hymn, Loftus gave a final word of encouragement.

"I know you had a week off," she said, referring to spring break, "but I know you will be great. You always are."

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