Irvine High School’s Concert Chorus for an upcoming performance at the high school.

Irvine High School's Concert Chorus, including Keren Mortiz, front right (black shirt), practices for an upcoming performance at the high school.  The chorus has been chosen as one of six to participate in the Young People's Chorus of New York City's “Radio Radiance” program.Irvine High School's Concert Chorus practices onstage for an upcoming performance at the high school. Choir members include Rahul Pandit, from left, Aaron Castro, Lance Ostrea, Daniel Jung, Marcos Caprile, Eben Campas, Alex Jun and Christian Pak, with Jill Brenner on piano. The chorus has been chosen as one of six to participate in the Young People's Chorus of New York City's “Radio Radiance” program.

Irvine High School’s Concert Chorus has been given a special opportunity to showcase its talent.

It is one of six youth choirs chosen to participate in the Young People’s Chorus of New York City’s “Radio Radiance” program, which offers choirs the chance to collaborate with some of the nation’s most respected composers to premiere a new work of choral music.


Created by MacArthur fellow Francisco J. Nuñez in 1988, the Young People’s Chorus was established to highlight the work of youth choruses nationwide.

Ron Chronister, the organization’s director of education, invited Irvine High School’s chorus because of its strong reputation.

Tina Peterson is the school’s choir director. “When I spoke to Ron on the phone, he spoke of the long tradition of excellence that Irvine High Choral Music has created over the years,” she said.

The other choirs chosen for the program, which is presented every two years, are in Hawaii, Kansas, Oklahoma, Massachusetts and Washington.

Each choir picks from among four pieces newly commissioned by the Young People’s Chorus to premiere in its state. Once a selection is made, the choir receives a reference recording and collaborates with the composer.

This year’s selections were “Celestial Fire” by Thomas Cabaniss, “The City” by Susie Ibarra, “Colors” by Kevin James, and “WICBM” by Toby Twining. Irvine chose Cabaniss’ work.

Each choir sets the date for its “Radio Radiance” premiere, along with those of other performances of the piece.  Irvine’s premiere event will take place April 24 at Irvine Presbyterian Church.

“Irvine High choirs are excited to be a part of this event,” Peterson said. “Supporting composers of new choral music is important to the growth of the genre.”

Said organization founder Nuñez: “I want to help young people get into new music and become excited about it. These composers, many of whom are not traditional choral composers, are incorporating new ideas and technology. They are looking for ways to combine these elements and want people to listen and react. Young people are the perfect messengers because they are open to new sounds and new ideas.”

“Radio Radiance” is an expansion of Young People’s Chorus’ Transient Glory program, which was founded in 2001 and brings attention to how children’s choruses can be a powerful instrument for producing music of high quality.

“We would love for the public to keep an open mind about contemporary music, and be aware that what they are hearing is music from composers who might be the Mozarts and Beethovens of today,” Nuñez said.