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Program for Ragazzi Boys Chorus – Magnificent Wonders

Sunday, December 11, 2022 at 4 pm

download a copy of this program here.
download a copy of the song texts here.

Magnificent Wonders
Ragazzi Boys Chorus

Kent Jue, Artistic & Executive Director; Director of Concert Group & Choral Scholars
Yongyu Gao, Collaborative Pianist
Travis Rogers, Director of Young Men’s Ensemble
Nancy Whitecar, Assistant Director of Young Men’s Ensemble & Collaborative Pianist


Concert Group and Choral Scholars

Francesco Durante (1684–1755), misattributed to Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710–1736), ed. Clayton Westermann
Magnificat Movement 1. Magnificat
              with the Cal Arte Ensemble
              Continuo realized by Nathaniel Pergamit, ed.Carol Panofsky

Traditional Carol, arr. Andy Brooke (b. 20th c.)
I Saw Three Ships
              Calvin Blanford, soloist

Traditional Carol, arr. Stuart Nicholson (b. 1948)
Ding Dong! Merrily on High
              Yongyu Gao, organ

Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978)
Ecce novum
              with the Cal Arte Ensemble

Rosephanye Powell (b. 1962)
Non Nobis Domine


Concert Group

John Rutter (b. 1945)
For the Beauty of the Earth

J. S. Bach (1685–1750), Charles Gounod (1818–1893)
Ave Maria


Young Men’s Ensemble

Franz Biebl (1906–2001)
Ave Maria
              Small Ensemble: Todd Crandell, Miles Kaludzinski, Luca Lit, Amit Krishnan, Aryan Gupta, Misha Aganin, Lincoln Mendenhall, Brian Wu

Traditional English Carol, arr. Chad Weirick (b. 20th c.)

Ola Gjeilo
Ave Generosa

Stephen Main (b. 1963)
The Darkest Midnight in December

Southern Harmony, 1835, arr. Shawn Kirchner (b. 1970)
Brightest and Best
              with the Cal Arte Ensemble and Finn Heinzen, bass

Ken Berg (b. 1955)
Come and See the King

Nigerian Christmas Song, Via Olatunji, arr. Wendell Whalum
              Small Group: Amit Krishnan, Marvin Valdez, Miles Kalduzinski
Ben Carlson, djembe


Combined Ensembles

Dan Forrest (b. 1978)
              Julian Brown, violin

Isaac Watts (1674–1748), arr. William Llewelyn (b. 1925)
Joy to the World
              Yongyu Gao, organ

About the musicians

Concert Group
Andrew Altorfer*
Nathan Bannister
Ian Bass&
Calvin Blanford*
Nick Damon
Alex Dujmovic
Kui Fine
Eli Hart
Colin Henderson
Bryant Ho
Jonah Hsu
Elliot Lee
Lyn Leonard
Ming Lim
Henry Lin
Brandon Liu
Isaac Liu
Michael Long
Albert Luo
Florian Mayssat-Basu
Darius Monstavicius
Finn Reese^^
Hersh Saxena
Arthur Scholom
Johan Sijp
Connor Statton^
Luke Suffoletto
Alex To
Oliver To
Adrian Twomey
Iker Vahamaki
Abraham Villeda
Eshu Vinnakota
Justin Vives
Colin Xiellie
Brenden Yu
Joshua Zheng

Concert Group Leadership Team
*Co-Head Chorister
^Team Captain
^^ Student Conductor
& Head Chorister Emeritus

Choral Scholars
Misha Aganin
Spencer Bergland
Simon Braun
Yanni Cheng
Talinn Hatti
Finley Heinzen
Miles Kaludzinski
Amit Krishnan †
Luca Lit †
Henry Liu
Paolo Marasco
Lincoln Mendenhall †
Krishna Nagarajan
Matteo Navarro
Armaan Sharma
Adrian Vahamaki †
Marvin Valdez
Tom Vosganian
Thomas Williams
Brian Wu
Ethan Zettler-Bray

†Section Leader

Young Men’s Ensemble
Misha Aganin
Aaron Bao
Jacob Bau
Spencer Bergland
Simon Braun
Ben Carlson
Yanni Cheng
Armani Choy †
Danny Cox
Manny Cox
Todd Crandell
Logan Crawford
Christopher Culwell
Jack Day
Sam Dickey
Connor Esmond
David Gu
Aryan Gupta †
Talinn Hatti
Finley Heinzen
Carter Hendrix
Miles Kaludzinski †
Jackson Kay
William Keller
Simon Kirjner
Olivier Kondo
Amit Krishnan †
Kavan Kumar
Luca Lit †
Henry Liu
Liam Lowitz
Paolo Marasco †
Lincoln Mendenhall †
Krishna Nagarajan
Smaran Narayanan
Matteo Navarro
John Phillips
Leon Qin
Diego Ramirez
Peter Reeves
Rhys Salma
Paul Sapilewski
Yash Saxena
Zachary Sayyah
Armaan Sharma
Christopher Spurling
Nikhil Srinivasan
Chase Thompson
Javier Tulabing
Declan Twomey
Adrian Vahamaki †
Marvin Valdez
Tom Vosganian
Theo Waltuch
Thomas Williams
Brian Wu
Ethan Zettler-Bray

†Section Leader

Ragazzi Boys Chorus is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier music and performance organizations for boys. Currently serving more than 175 boys from over 100 schools in more than 30 communities, Ragazzi is the largest boys chorus in the Bay Area. Ragazzi means “boys” in Italian, and is the term used in opera to refer to children’s voices.

Ragazzi has performed with the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Opera San Jose, Symphony Silicon Valley, and the Stanford University Symphonic Chorus, among others. Ragazzi was honored for its contribution to the San Francisco Symphony’s triple Grammy Award-winning recording of Stravinsky’s Perséphone and produces its own discography. Under the leadership of Artistic and Executive Director Kent Jue, the group tours throughout the United States and internationally to widen chorus members’ cultural and musical horizons and deepen Ragazzi’s reputation for performance excellence. Ragazzi was founded in 1987 by Joyce Keil.


Kent Jue, Artistic and Executive Director; Director of Concert Group/Choral Scholars, is an experienced choral conductor, music educator, and facilitator for lifelong learning in music. An energetic teacher, adjudicator, guest clinician, workshop presenter, and mentor, he is known for building high-level musicianship skills through his engaging style and rapport with students. He has a passion for uncovering the full artistic and expressive potential of individual choristers in an ensemble setting. Kent conducts Ragazzi’s most accomplished treble singers, Concert Group, and the select tenor and bass Choral Scholars. He has toured extensively with the Ragazzi program and has led Ragazzi choirs to numerous festivals. An avid collaborator, Kent has prepared ensembles for performances with organizations including San Francisco Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, Opera San Jose, and West Bay Opera. Kent has also conducted youth choruses at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and performed and recorded with the Golden Gate Men’s Chorus and the Gay Men’s Choruses of San Francisco and Boston. He has a Masters of Music Education, with a Kodaly Emphasis from Holy Names University, a Bachelor of Music, Music Education from the University of the Pacific, a certificate in the Orff-Schulwerk method of music education, and holds a CA teaching credential. As Ragazzi’s second Artistic Director, Kent is honored to continue Ragazzi’s legacy of musical excellence, and its tradition of developing choral artists of character and distinction.

Travis Rogers, Young Men’s Ensemble Director, has been a professional choral conductor for 45 years. He retired from Napa High School in June of 2017 after thirty-seven years as the choral music director. Mr. Rogers directed the activities of over 300 students (at least half of them boys) each school year in seven different ensembles. Choirs at the school toured frequently nationally and internationally, performing in world famous venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, St. Patrick’s and Christ Church Cathedrals in Dublin, Notre Dame in Paris, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Westminster Abbey in London, and Sagrada Familia and the Barcelona Cathedral in Spain. NHS ensembles also earned top honors at several national and international competitions in New York City, Hawaii, Australia, Austria, and England as well as top ratings and awards at local, regional and state festivals and competitions.

In 1981, during his second year of teaching at Napa High, Mr. Rogers began the school’s first Men’s Choir with 20 students. In subsequent years, as many as 220 young men sang in one or more of three separate male ensembles at the school. Typically, each year up to 80% of new enrolling male singers did so with no previous choral training yet earned “Unanimous Superior” ratings at area choral festivals for the quality of their performances. The 2016–2017 NHS Beginning Men’s Choir was the subject of the documentary Top Row, currently available on Amazon Prime, which chronicled the group’s preparation and subsequent performance at their first choral competition.

Mr. Rogers has served the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) California Chapter in many capacities including repertoire and standards chair for high school and male choirs, summer conference chair and President. He is also a Past-President of the western region of ACDA. Travis Rogers has conducted over thirty honor and district choirs in northern and central California. He has been a choral competition/festival adjudicator and clinician for over thirty years as well as a frequent presenter at professional conferences for ACDA and California Music Educators Association (CMEA).

Yongyu Gao, Collaborative Pianist, began playing the accordion at age four, establishing a strong musical foundation for piano studies she began at the age of 10. In 2005, Yongyu won first place in the Beijing National Accordion Competition, and third place in the Beijing National Piano Competition. This experience helped her focus on piano, and in 2009, she graduated with a BA from South China University in Music Education with an emphasis in piano performance. After moving to the United States, she played for the Inna Opera Group at the Community Music Center in San Francisco. Yongyu continued her study in piano performance as a Walker Scholar at San Jose State University, earning her Master’s degree in 2013. She accompanies for the Burlingame School District and Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, and is an active performer throughout the Bay Area. She also serves as a pianist and organist at Burlingame United Methodist Church. She is a member of the Music Teachers Association of California, and her piano students regularly participate in the Certificate of Merit and Royal School of Music programs and exams.

Nancy Whitecar, Assistant Young Men’s Ensemble Director and Collaborative Pianist, is a professional musician and music educator with over 25 years of experience. She teaches general music classes at The Music School at the Sunnyvale Presbyterian church, and accompanies for instrumentalists and choirs throughout the Bay Area. Nancy has directed children’s and youth choirs, and taught piano to students of all ages in her private piano studio. She served as accompanist and assistant director of the BeckRidge Chorale in Southeast Michigan for over 20 years, and as Associate Director of Music at the First United Methodist Church in Plymouth, Michigan. Nancy is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, and the California Association of Professional Music Teachers. She graduated from the University of Illinois and holds a Piano Teacher Certificate from Schoolcraft College in Michigan.

Cal Arte Ensemble

Julian Brown, violin
Brandon Wang, violin
Goetz Leonhardt, viola
Sam Cotta, cello

The Cal Arte Ensemble was founded in 2015 by pianist Tamami Honma and violinist Julian Brown and have presented many concerts in the Bay Area featuring classical masterpieces for chamber group ensembles including trios, quartets and quintets by Arensky, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvořák, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Shostakovich, and others. Their performance of Beethoven’s Archduke Piano Trio received praise from San Francisco Classical Voice: “What it needs is the joy in life brought to it by these players. Their relaxed flexibility in phrasing made everything roll along. The finale was the movement most transformed from other performances I’ve heard.” During the pandemic, they created a number of virtual performances on YouTube including complete performances of Fauré’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria. See for more details.


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