The Year Ahead

As a teacher, I never feel like January 1st is the start of the year. In my brain, I'm looking ahead at January, thinking about February and March and planning ahead to spring. I'm really excited about this year and the experiences I've been able to create for my students.


This month we're jumping right in. St. Olaf College (my alma mater) is sending two Oles to work in my classroom for the month. This is a valuable opportunity for them to see what an "urban" classroom looks like and it's an incredible chance for them to teach and work with students in a consistent, hands-on approach. We have our work cut out for us - students are gearing up for 2 concerts in February, Helios Chorum and Bella Voce are working on a commissioned work by Elliot Z. Levine that will culminate in a joint performance with Augsburg University and the Augsburg Choir, and Helios is gearing up for a concert with the Minnesota Chorale Men, and Hopkins High School.


Feb 21st: Chamber Choir, Advanced Band, Intermediate Band and Star of the North Chamber Band collaborate to bring together a joint performance. We're trying our hand at our first song cycle (Five Hebrew Love Songs - Eric Whitacre) featuring a local violinist (Mayra Mendoza) and a student pianist.

Feb 28th: Helios Chorum, Bella Voce, Harding Orchestra and the Augsburg Chorale will join forces to premiere "My Dad the Mekong and me the Mississippi/Beauty Is" - a powerful bilingual work in Hmong and English composed by Elliot Levine, with texts by Lee Her and Peter Yang. I am so excited about this piece - students were THRILLED when I told them we'd be singing in Hmong!


Second Cantare residency!


SPPS Honors Concert Rehearsals begin. The Ordway Center for Performing Arts has a wonderful partnership with St. Paul Public Schools. Through a series of auditions, an honor choir, band and orchestra are formed and have three rehearsals with a guest conductor culminating in a concert at the Ordway. It's a competitive and exciting chance for students to learn new music and get an experience similar to All-State.

2nd Annual Cretin-Derham Hall Asian Pacific Islander Celebration.

More to come on this...


May 17th and 18th: Border CrosSing - Emerging Latinx Voices.
May 20th: Spring Choir Concert. This year's theme is "Songs of Screen and Stage"
May 21st: Cantare! at the Ordway, featuring the world premiere of Pablo Halliday's piece for Chamber Choir.
May 20...something: Valley Fair & Performance in the Parks. AKA: the day where students mercilessly torment me to get on roller coaster rides and I agree, and the immediately regret it. It was not cute last year.

Oof! All written out, it looks doable. As I think about it logistically, it's about 35 pieces of music to study, teach and perform.... and that doesn't even include my own gigs.

Here's to 2019!

Natalia Romero