AAs a proud, self-proclaimed Angeleno, Grant Gershon just wants to bring joy to his hometown.
It does so with the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s one-time event, “Big Sing 2022: With a Little Help From Our Friends” at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 at the Music Center’s Grand Park.
Free and open to the public, Angelenos are invited to sing along with choral masters, led by Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director Gershon and Associate Conductor Jenny Wong.
Guest conductors include Alexander Blake, founder and director of Tonality, and Los Angeles Master Chorale members David Castillo, Charlie Kim, Sharmila G. Lash and Kristen Toedtman.
The repertoire will include “With a Little Help from My Friends” by The Beatles, “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King, “Cielito Lindo” by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by John Rosamond Johnson and “Un whole new world.”
As a prelude to the musical entertainment, guests are invited to come early to enjoy the food trucks and have lunch on the lawn. Food will be available for purchase and free water will be offered to attendees. A booklet of commemorative songs will be available free of charge on the day of the event.
“I always want to find ways to connect all the different parts of Los Angeles together,” Gershon said.
“It sounds like a cliché, but we find our common humanity. We all have different stories, different backgrounds. We all come from different places. The one thing we all have is our voice. This event is a way for us to celebrate this thing that brings us together, that we all have in common, that unites us as one giant family.
He admitted it’s “idealistic”, but in “the ridiculous times we find ourselves in right now”, fun events are needed.
The Big Sing event is in its fourth year, the first since pre-COVID-19 2019.
“As musicians, who really love and live to make music together, it’s been a really tough year,” he said.
“This season felt like the big thaw. Everything comes out of the freeze. The last part of it was really coming together as a great community of singers. We’ll be outside in Grand Park. We always have the possibility for people to feel comfortable and safe, while having the possibility of harmonizing together.
Gershon has conducted more than 200 choral performances at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in programs encompassing a wide range of choral music, from early repertoire mainstays to contemporary compositions.
He has conducted world premiere performances of major works by composers such as Michael Abels, John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Jeff Beal, Eve Beglarian, Billy Childs, Reena Esmail, Gabriela Lena Frank, Ricky Ian Gordon, Shawn Kirchner, David Lang , Morten Lauridsen. , Steve Reich, Ellen Reid, Christopher Rouse, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Chinary Ung.
His discography includes the Grammy-nominated recordings of ‘Sweeney Todd’ (New York Philharmonic Special Editions) and ‘Ligeti’s Grand Macabre’ (Sony Classical); Commercial CDs with the choir, including “Glass-Salonen” (RCM), “You Are” (Variations) (Nonesuch), “Daniel Variations” (Nonesuch), “A Good Understanding” (Decca), “Miserere” (Decca) ; and national anthems (Cantaloup Music).
He has two live performance albums, the choir’s 50th Season Celebration recording and Festival of Carols. He also led the choir in performances for several major motion picture soundtracks, including, at John Williams’ request, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker.”
He called “Big Sing 2022: With A Little Help from Our Friends” a “big party” with an eclectic mix of songs.
“There’s something for everyone and we have a fantastic band, led by legendary jazz pianist Russell Ferrante and Sidney Hopson on drums and percussion.
It starts with Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park,” which is perfect because that’s who we are. That’s it, from that to music from West Africa, Mexico and India; things like “A Change is Gonna Come,” “Seasons of Love” from “Rent,” and, as the name of the event suggests, some Beatles. It’s something for everyone.
He said rehearsals are not necessary.
“We have great lead vocals who are super charismatic and make the experience fun,” he said. “It’s like karaoke with 500 of your closest friends.”
“Big Sing 2022: With a little help from our friends”
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday July 23
WHERE: The Grand Park of the Music Center,
135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles