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Mila – South Africa – Glentana

Part of a personal project while on tour in South Africa. Has singing in a chorus changed you?

Young Women’s Chorus member and graduating senior, Mila. Photo taken at Glentana, South Africa. The Young Women’s Chorus stopped here on a travel day to feel the Indian Ocean and spot some whales.

These past 6 years of being involved with YWCP have provided me with a safe place to grow, learn, and sing, for which I am eternally grateful. I first joined this organization in 8th grade, 13 years old in Allegro. At the end of the first year I was convinced to audition for YWC and, to my surprise, made it in! After spending so much time listening for little strains of music to come swirling and tumbling up the stairs from the room where that powerful group of women sang together, I was finally going to be one of them, I could sing with them. I was one of those incredible young women, it felt unbelievable, scary, and exhilarating all at once. I didn’t know that I had embarked on a journey of intense self realization and that this choir would be largely responsible for leading me to become a motivated, matured, and empowered young adult.

There is immense value in having something carry through so many different stages of your life so you can see how it changes you but also, how you change it. For me, it was my years in the Young Women’s Choral Projects. The effect this choir has had on me is incalculable, the person I’ve become is so different from who I was on my first day in this program. Although it sometimes feels like I’m a completely new person, I’d like to think I kept some of the old me too. I still laugh a lot, dance and sing, and stumble over my words sometimes when I get too excited. But through choir I’ve also found new and genuine happiness, a mature sense of self, and have become stronger mentally. And I think I’m finally starting to figure out how all of this works in collaboration to make me the most unique and best version of myself. I have always felt like I needed to section off all the different facets of my being, and only show them to individual groups. In choir I learned that I can be all of these things at once, I can be silly and also serious, spontaneous and thought out, this realization set me on the path towards being the authentic me with everyone, something I struggled with since elementary school.

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Olivia – South Africa – Pilanesberg

Part of a personal project while on tour in South Africa. Do you have any special memories of going on choir tours?

Young Women’s Chorus member and graduating senior, Olivia. Photo taken at BBQ dinner inside Pilanesberg Game Reserve. The Chorus spent the day in open vehicle game drives.

My time in choir has been truly inspiring and incredibly rewarding. I have grown so much as an individual these past few years, becoming more confident in my abilities as a vocalist and hardworking as a member of a high-performing group. Choir has provided me the ability to get outside my comfort zone and learn new and challenging music, and has given me a greater appreciation for choral music. The friends that I have made over my six years in YWCP have grown to be some of my best friends and I love that we share such a strong bond thanks to our mutual love of music.

As a member of YWC, I have also been given the privilege to travel with the choir on tour and bring the music we have learned to a different part of the world. The time spent on tour is always so inspiring and getting to travel with such an amazing group and share such amazing music is one of my favorite parts of YWC. Our first concert in South Africa, a joint concert with local choirs in Soweto was by far one of my favorite performances. The sound and energy in the room as we felt the audience’s excitement fill the room was incredible and such a unique and special experience. I love YWCP and I am extremely grateful to choir for helping me grow both as a singer and a young woman, ready to take on the world.

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Michelle – South Africa – Soweto – Holy Cross

Part of a personal project while on tour in South Africa. Has singing in a chorus made you who you are today?

Young Women’s Chorus charter member and graduating senior, Michelle. Photo taken at Holy Cross Anglican Church in Soweto, South Africa. The Young Women’s Chorus participated in Sunday morning service.

“Chorus has been a place where I have grown and developed into the person I am today. I’ve had so many amazing experiences touring around the world with the chorus and have created many life-long friendships with those around me. I truly could not have imagined my last 7 years without chorus. It has been such a grounding force for me and a place where I have been able to share my passion for music with others. I continue to sing not only because of my love of music but also because of the supportive and loving community the girls in this chorus have created. This community has taught me how to be my best self and has encouraged me to lift up those around me as well.”

“YWC has also helped me gain an understanding of the uniting and expressive force that music brings. Whenever we go on tour, I am amazed by the energy and response from the audiences. To see how our singing resonates with people from all around the world gives me hope and joy. YWC has truly opened my heart and mind to new experiences and friendships, and I am forever grateful for the impact this has had on my life.”

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Erol Efendioglu – San Francisco Botanical Garden

Erol Efendioglu – San Francisco Botanical Garden

The next portrait from an ongoing personal project.

Native Sons and Daughters is a photo series that tells a story of the people that live in the city in which they grew up. Each subject chooses a portrait location that is meaningful to them in some way and represents their own connection to the city.

Erol chose to take his portrait at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. He recalled to me how he used to sneak in after hours with his friends to meet at the benches in the Redwood Grove.

Located in Golden Gate Park, Strybing Arboretum opened in 1940. The Garden encompasses 55 acres and contains nearly 9,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. In 2004 the name was changed to San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum.

 

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

 

I grew up in the Inner Sunset district, and live in Polk Gulch now. I attended Montessori pre-school, Town School for Boys from Kindergarten to 8th grade, Lowell High School, and then UC Santa Cruz.

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

 

I chose the Botanical Garden because it was the best secret hang out spot for me and my friends in high school when we wanted to get out of the house. We developed a great game of “King of the Hill” on the benches. Basically, the last person left standing on a bench won.

 

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

 

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Tamlyn – New York – Carnegie Hall

san francisco photography portrait tour chorister

The last entry from a personal project while on tour last month in New York. Who would you be today if not for chorus?

Young Women’s Chorus charter member and graduating senior, Tamlyn. Photo taken before the performance in Carnegie Hall.

“I would not be the person I am today without the Young Women’s Chorus of San Francisco. I remember walking into the audition room at only twelve years old, a middle schooler, terrified of messing up, and doubting that I would be accepted. Now, I have walked out of the rehearsal room forever, eighteen years old, a high school graduate, still terrified of messing up, but knowing that chorus has changed me forever.

Chorus has given me a voice. It has increased my confidence in my abilities in a world that seeks to tear teenage girls apart. It has helped me realize my power. Through chorus I know that I have the ability to transform others. Because of this chorus I have learned that music is unlike anything else on earth. It has powers beyond explanation. Music can move people to tears, bring people together, and can undoubtedly change the world.”

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Katrina – New York – Ellis Island

san francisco portrait chorister tour

Part of a personal project while on tour last week in New York. Has singing in a chorus ever connected you to someone that doesn’t speak your language?

Young Women’s Chorus charter member and graduating senior Katrina. Photo taken on Ellis Island.

“When I first joined the Young Women’s Chorus, my nickname was Eeyore, the expressionless to the point of depression character from the Winnie the Pooh series. I was quite serious about singing, but I only really focused on singing the correct notes and rhythms. After my first voice masterclass, another chorister immediately said, “You’re just like Eeyore! This song is about happiness and love but you look so sad!” Before hearing this critique, I didn’t really understand the purpose of having expression. I saw music in a very straightforward and technical way, analyzing chord progressions and dynamics by the book. However, over time, YWC truly opened the door and showed me how universally powerful music is.

I first experienced this on our first tour to Italy. We were rehearsing in this gorgeous church in Venice, when we noticed people peeping through the gate at the entrance of the church. We only started with some simple warm-ups and yet people were flocking, trying to get a better look. Some even waited until we were done rehearsing to meet us outside. Despite the language barrier, both tourists and locals expressed their gratitude for our singing. It dawned on me that people didn’t need to know the music we were singing to enjoy our chorus. People didn’t need to speak the same language in order to feel connected through this celestial experience. Whether it was in San Francisco, Venice, Berlin, Vancouver, or Budapest, our singing connected people from all around the world, and that to me is an incredible and inimitable feeling.”

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Sarah – New York – Greenwich Village

san francisco chorister photography tour

Part of a personal project while on tour in New York. Has singing in a choir affected you in a similar way?

Young Women’s Chorus charter member and graduating senior Sarah. Photo taken in Greenwich Village.

“Singing with the Young Women’s Chorus these past six years has been an invaluable experience that I know will continue to shape my life long after I leave the chorus. No words can express how thankful I am to have learned and performed such renowned and challenging repertoire at a professional level in venues all around the world.

I have learned that choral performance goes far beyond mastering a piece of music; the most rewarding part of choir is our ability to connect with entire communities, across language barriers, using nothing more than a piano and our own voices. During one particular concert in an old church in a remote German hamlet, I noticed several men with tears running down their cheeks. Our free concert that evening, it seemed, was a gift graciously received. It touched me to no end to see how deeply our music had affected them. The concert we gave in that packed German church was by no means the splashiest production we’d ever put on, but it was the most moving and meaningful.”

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Alyssa – New York – St. Francis Xavier Church

san francisco chorister photography

Part of a personal project while on tour in New York. Taken at St. Francis Xavier church.

Young Women’s Chorus charter member and graduating senior Alyssa Tsuyuki.

“The chorus has been more than an after-school activity to me. It’s been my home, my family, and so much more to me than I could have ever imagined over the past 6 years.
My first rehearsal, I was just a small kid among a sea of girls with mature and powerful voices. Yet, I wasn’t intimidated because everyone was so encouraging to each other. Even though I didn’t have a voice like all of the older girls, I felt like I was a valued member of the group, and played a vital role in making music. Over time, my voice grew to be louder, but my responsibilities within the chorus stayed the same: to make breathtakingly sensational music with my friends.

I remember, in the summer of 2015, YWC sang Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria” in a small village in Germany. Our sound resonated in the large church packed full of people listening to us. After we finished and the sounds of the music dissipated, the room was silent. It was not until a few seconds after everything had stopped when the first sounds of applause began. It’s moments like these where I remember why I stayed in this chorus in the first place.”
– Alyssa Tsuyuki

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Katie Innes – Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Branch Library

Katie Innes – Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Branch Library

The next portrait from an ongoing personal project.

Native Sons and Daughters is a photo series that tells a story of the people that live in the city in which they grew up. Each subject chooses a portrait location that is meaningful to them in some way and represents their own connection to the city.

Katie chose to take her portrait at the Noe Valley Branch Library. According to the SF Public Library website, this branch building opened in 1916 with a Spanish-style facade of brick and terra cotta. It was most recently renovated in 2008.

joseph fanvu photography san francisco 150318
joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

 

I grew up in Noe Valley, back when there were barely any kids in the neighborhood. From there I traveled to the Mission to attend Children’s Day School, then Katherine Delmar Burke School in Sea Cliff, and finally the Urban School in the Haight. After four years away in Walla Walla, WA for college, I returned to SF to live in the Richmond, then the Castro, and now the Marina.

 

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco
joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

 

I chose the Noe Valley Library because I spent so much time there as a toddler at lapsit, as a kid eagerly participating in the summer reading program, as a teenager doing research for school papers, and as a recent college graduate trying to figure out what to do with my life. The building is nearly 100 years old and it’s so beautiful from the outside and inside. I always felt so lucky that it just happened to be a block from my house and that I could read and learn in such a historical space.

 

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco
joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

 

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Josh Workman – On Broadway sign, Broadway and Montgomery Sts.

Josh Workman – On Broadway sign, Broadway and Montgomery Sts.

The next portrait from an ongoing personal project.

Native Sons and Daughters is a photo series that tells a story of the people that live in the city in which they grew up. Each subject chooses a portrait location that is meaningful to them in some way and represents their own connection to the city.

Josh chose to take his portrait with the On Broadway sign located at Broadway and Montgomery Sts. According to its website, the building was constructed in 1919 as “Garibaldi Hall” an Italian Men’s Club. Since that time, it has been used as an events venue and among others has been the home of Mabuhay Gardens, On Broadway Theater, and Broadway Studios. To see an early photo of this building and read about the impressive list of acts to play here, go to the website at http://broadwayvenue.com/?page_id=39

With the help of the ownership, we were able to get the lights turned on for his portrait. (some of the lights at least) Since we weren’t able to get inside, we took some more shots in the alley adjacent to the club.

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

 

I moved around the city quite a bit when I was a kid. We began out in the Excelsior, hit Glen Park for a few years, migrated to Noe Valley, out to the Sunset then back to a couple of spots in Noe Valley again. My father, Bill Workman, wrote for the SF Chronicle. My mother, Sanna Craig, wrote for Mother Jones and other publications.

Since I moved around a bit while growing up, I jumped from school to school, as well. My grammar schools were Longfellow, Glen Park, and Lakeshore. I attended Aptos Middle School, went to Lowell High for two years then graduated from McAteer/School of the Arts (SOTA).

 

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

 

My stepfather’s family home since the 1950s, located on Pacheco near 30th Avenue in the Sunset district, has been “command-central” for quite a few years now. I work in music production as a composer, arranger, and sound editor on the Peninsula several days a week, teach in Marin, and perform on guitar in San Francisco and other cities around the Bay Area. I love being able to walk down to Ocean Beach and feel the mist on my face or simply stand out in front of the house and watch the Sun disappear behind the mighty Pacific. Equally enjoyable is being able to walk or run around the reservoir, just up the hill from the house and catty-corner from Lincoln High School, which is where my stepfather graduated from.

 

joseph fanvu photography native san francisco

 

I picked the On Broadway sign located at 435 Broadway street which is now the home of Broadway Studios. It is so iconic and it bookends Broadway st. with The Condor sign on the other end. My first band spent countless nights on Broadway, playing in little dives, such as The Chi-Chi Club and Mabuhay Gardens, also known as The Fab Mab. We sometimes had to hide in the back room of the Chi-Chi when the cops would come around, since we were way underage. The owner, Miss Keiko, used to come down and hear us play and I remember a faded picture of Eddie Money that they had proudly displayed on their front window. I guess he had played there in the early days. I also remember showing up to play a matinee show at the On Broadway once when I was about fifteen but it had caught fire the night before and so it was boarded up.

After living for seven years in Boston and New York, I moved back to San Francisco and spent many more nights playing on Broadway during the Swing Revival of the 1990s with Indigo Swing. I ended up marrying Nicole Vigil, the second singer in that band! I also used to play at the Hi Ball Lounge, which had been home to the legendary Jazz Workshop from the late ’50s to late ’60s. I still play at various spots in North Beach but the music scene just isn’t the same as it once was on the actual Broadway strip. Funny enough, back in the 1960s, my stepdad Larry Vuckovich spent six nights a week playing at the Hungry I, which is still located on Broadway.

 

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