Cantabile's Festival for Young Voices

The Cantabile Festival for Young Voices is a non-competitive event aimed at nurturing the art of choral singing among young people through collaboration; the Festival is a celebration of community music making. Participation offers young singers several excellent musical and educational opportunities:

  • To join over 250 singers from Cantabile and local school and community choirs for a day of learning, rehearsing and performing.
  • To work with an internationally renowned guest conductor.
  • To participate in a Latin American drumming workshop.
  • To perform at a wonderful community concert as a part of the Festival Combined Chorus.

Festival participation is free for all invited choirs. The event is supported by Cantabile Youth Singers of Silicon Valley as part of our annual operating budget that is supplemented with the help of local foundations like Silicon Valley Creates and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation so that we can share the rich gift of choral music by giving back to our local community.

Every year we bring a prominent and inspiring choral clinician to share his or her unique talents and expertise in a full morning of rehearsals and workshops and to conduct the afternoon concert. Our next festival will be in Spring 2021.

Dr. Daniel R. Afonso, Jr., Festival Conductor in Residence

A Celebration of Music and Youth from Latin America

Dr. Daniel R. Afonso, Jr., 2018 Festival Conductor in Residence
Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. is professor of music and Coordinator of Vocal and Choral Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. He received a degree in Educação Artística from the Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. Dr. Afonso is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has studied conducting with Carlos Alberto Figueiredo, Cees Rotteveel, Eph Ehly, and William Hatcher.
Dr. Afonso has performed with choral groups in Brazil, U.S., and Europe, and has previously taught music at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Música, Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), and Doane College (Nebraska). He was the winner of the First Prize and the Best Performance of Villa-Lobos Work awards at the Concurso Villa-Lobos de Canto Coral, a national choral competition sponsored by the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Afonso is strongly committed to the performance of new music and has commissioned and premiered many choral works in the last few years, including several of his own works and works by young composition students.

He is the founding director of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Chorus and, since 2001, has prepared several choral masterworks with the ensemble. He often serves as a guest conductor with the Modesto Symphony and frequently conducts the orchestra and chorus in performances.

Dr. Afonso is a composer, arranger, and editor of choral music and has choral works published by earthsongs, Colla Voce, and Alliance Music Publications. He was composer-in-residence with the San Francisco Choral Artists during their 2014-2015 season and has also written works for the Los Angeles Children’s Choir, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and other ensembles in the US and abroad. He has written innumerous arrangements for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, including a new version of The Star-Spangled Banner for orchestra and chorus, premiered at the MSO opening concert for the 2015-16 season. Dr. Afonso is widely recognized for his research and performance of Brazilian choral music and continues to frequently present workshops and lectures about the Latin American choral repertoire—he most recently presented a series of lectures and conducting masterclasses at the Liszt Academy, in Budapest.

He is very active as a voice instructor, clinician, and guest conductor, and has presented hundreds of choral workshops, clinics, and coaching sessions throughout the United States and abroad. His professional affiliations include the Ordem dos Músicos do Brasil, the International Federation for Choral Music, and the American Choral Directors Association.

A Celebration of Music from Latin America

Oscar Escalada, 2016 Festival Conductor in Residence
Born in 1943 in Buenos Aires, Oscar Escalada is one of Argentina's preeminent conductors and choral composers.

Much of his career has been dedicated to university teaching and research. He was the Professor of Conducting and Composition at the Conservatory of La Plata, and a researcher at the University of La Plata. Mr. Escalada’s original compositions and choral arrangements have been performed around the world; as editor, he selects compositions for the Latin American Choral Music series at Kjos Music Publishing. Oscar Escalada is the founder and conductor of Coral del Nuevo Mundo (New World’s Chorale), a chamber choir that is known in Argentina and beyond: in 1998 the choir performed at the 1998 American Choral Directors Association Central Division Convention in Detroit, and in 2000 sang at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome performing Misa Criolla by Ariel Ramirez. In 1988 Mr. Escalada founded the Children's Choir of Teatro Argentino of La Plata and continues to work with young singers all over the world.

Professor Escalada has been invited to give lectures and workshops, and to adjudicate all over Argentina, the United States, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain, England, Greece, Germany, and at the V World Symposium for Choral Music in Rotterdam (1999). He is Vice President of the Argentine Association for Choral Music, a member of the Musical Committee of the America Cantat Festivals, and was the president for Latin America of the International Society for Children's Choral and Performing Arts. In recognition of his choral achievements, he received one of three hundred medals coined for the Tercentennial Anniversary of the foundation of Yale University.

A Celebration of Negro Spiritual and Gospel Music

Anthony Trecek-King Anthony Trecek King, 2015 Festival Conductor in Residence

Saturday, March 14 Free public concert at 2PM

Location: First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, 625 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto - map "Favorite musical moment in the time I've been here" - Josh Elliot, Good Morning America Named one of Boston's most stylish in 2012, Anthony Trecek-King is the Artistic Director of the award winning Boston Children's Chorus (BCC). Under his direction the chorus has earned a reputation as an ensemble of high distinction and in 2013 received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program award from the White House.

Trecek-King's performances have been heralded as possessing a "surprising range of dynamics and depth ofexpression." He has collaborated on performances with Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Simon Halsey, Yo Yo Ma and Melinda Doolittle. Recently he directed the American Choral Directors Association National Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir in Dallas, Texas, and has conducted many All State and Festival choirs. In addition to Trecek-King's conducting work he hosted the choral music radio program "Together in Song," presented two talks for TEDx Boston and will play host on the new choral music television series "Sing That Thing."

He holds a B.M. in Cello Performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from Florida State University. Currently he is completing his D.M.A. in conducting at Boston University. Participation is free of charge to all local children's choirs. To receive an invitation, please email or call 650-424-1410

2014 Cantabile Festival for Young Voices:
an African Celebration

2014 Festival for Young Voices:

Saturday, March 8, 2014
Free Public Concert at 2:00 P.M.

Location: First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto 625 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto - map Choirs: Vocalise, Ensemble, Intermediate, and participating school and community ensembles Featuring Cantabile's Artistic Director Elena Sharkova, and our Festival Composer and Conductor With special guest Jim Greiner from Hands-On! Drumming Participation is free of charge to all local children's choirs. To receive an invitation to our next festival, please email

Festival 2013

FESTIVAL 2013 Jim Papoulis Saturday, March 9, 2013 - 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
2013 Festival for Young Voices
Choirs: Vocalise, Ensemble, Intermediate Jim Paploulis, composer & guest conductor
Location:Oshman Family JCC 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto - map

Jim Papoulis composes, orchestrates, and conducts music from many genres and is known for work that combines contemporary, classical, and world sounds, writing for films, choirs, dance, and artists of many genres.

He has conducted hundreds of shows worldwide, with artists that include symphonies, chamber ensembles, pop bands, gospel and children's choirs.

Papoulis has made significant contributions to choral music by revitalizing the choral repertoire with songs whose roots are classical and world, with voicing that incorporates lead vocalists with choirs, vocal percussion, and world rhythms. His choral work often is sung from the perspective of the singer, and is constantly inspired by the work he does through the foundation for small voices. He firmly believes that music can heal, educate, celebrate, and empower the lives of children.

Through the Foundation for Small Voices he has conducted songwriting workshops with choirs from the United States, China, Japan, Tanzania, Mexico, Kenya, Dominican Republic, Haiti, England, Norway, Canada, France, Ireland, Bosnia, Jordan, Australia, Dubai, and Greece.

He has worked with choirs on all continents and from all walks of life, and with

Aretha Franklin, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Beyonce, the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, London Boys Choir, London Symphony, Beijing Children's Choir, Faith Hill, Natalie Cole, Snoop Dogg,Take 6, New York Voices.

His music has recently been featured at:
  • Beijing Olympics
  • 9/11 10th Anniversary concerts throughout the world including New York, Moscow, Tokyo, Beijing, London, Oslo, Paris, Shanghai, Rio, Rome, Salzburg, St. Petersburg, Dubai
  • 2008 Presidential Inauguration
  • Pope visit televised nationally at Yankee Stadium
  • Save the Children at Lincoln Center (with Narration by Bill Clinton and Samuel Jackson)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. ABC television special
  • The White House
  • Carnegie Hall
  • Alvin Ailey at City Center
  • Royal Albert Hall
  • World Cup South Africa 2010
Participation is free of charge to all local children's choirs. To receive an invitation, please email or call 650-424-1410 ext. 3.
Free public concert at 1:00 PM.

Festival 2012

2012 Festival For Young Voices Stephen Hatfield Saturday, March 10, 2012 - 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Peninsula Children's Choral Festival
Choirs: Vocalise, Ensemble, Intermediate Stephen Hatfield, composer & guest conductor First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto 625 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto - map

For the first time in the organization's history, Cantabile has commissioned a new piece of choral music. "Breakthrough" has been composed especially for Cantabile Youth Singers of Silicon Valley by renowned composer Stephen Hatfield on the occasion of the second annual Peninsula Children's Choral Festival.

Don't miss this world premiere of "Breakthrough," our first commission! Come and make history with Cantabile on Saturday, March 10 at the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto.

The Peninsula Children's Choral Festival brings together local children's choirs and directors for a day of learning and singing. The program includes a free public concert featuring our Intermediate, Ensemble and Vocalise choirs and guest choirs individually and together on the same stage. A new commission by Stephen Hatfield will be the centerpiece of this year's festival.

Mr. Hatfield is a Canadian composer, conductor, clinician and lecturer specializing in choral music. His enthusiasm, sense of humor, and love for music is what keeps him at the forefront of new choral music. For more information about Stephen Hatfield click here.