ABS Music Director Jeffrey Thomas recently addressed the Pacific Boychoir Academy in Oakland at their annual commencement ceremony. The PBA and Maestro Thomas have shared the stage in musical collaboration on several occasions over the years. ABS audiences will surely remember the powerful impact the PBA choristers made in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion this past season. They also joined ABS for performances of an early version of the St. Matthew Passion in 2012 and a program of Bach cantatas back in 2007. At UC Davis, Thomas has directed large ensembles incorporating choristers from the Pacific Boychoir in a stunning array of works including Britten’s Saint Nicolas, Howells’ Hymnus Paradisi, Vaughan Williams’ Song of Thanksgiving, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Berlioz’s Te Deum.
Under the direction of founder and Music Director Kevin Fox, the PBA has created an impressive musical legacy that includes multiple Grammy Awards, international tours, and important appearances such as the memorial services of Nelson Mandela in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.
Addressing the graduating class, Thomas emphasized the importance of applying the habits and standards they developed while at PBA. He also encouraged them to keep singing. “That invaluable knowledge and experience of mutual support that you have learned here at PBA is something that you can carry along with you wherever you go,” he said, “If your generation is going to change the world, and repair the planet and our communities, through whatever work and career you take on, you’re going to have to do it together, as a team, as an ensemble.”
Thomas also praised the singers for their work with ABS in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion last February and March: “That was certainly not the most difficult music that’s been handed to you, but you sang it with a depth of expression and sincerity and involvement that was overwhelming to the audiences and to your fellow musicians in ABS. I have so greatly enjoyed not only your beautiful and heartfelt singing but also the remarkable professionalism that you have brought to each of those rehearsal and concert experiences.”
Congratulations to all of the graduates of the PBA!