SFGConnect is an innovative pilot programme that offers the San Francisco Girls Choru‘s full choral and music theory curriculum to singers over the internet.
SFGConnect will allow girls and gender expansive youth aged 7-10 to participate in the organisation’s accredited music training, even if they live hundreds of miles away.
This virtual curriculum is made possible by JackTrip Labs’ Virtual Studio, which enables real-time music collaboration over hundreds of miles with high-quality audio.
San Francisco Girls Chorus ensembles sang at the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama and regularly participate in San Francisco Opera productions, as well as touring internationally. They have performed with Bobby McFerrin, Kronos Quartet, Chanticleer and the San Francisco Symphony and have won multiple ASCAP and GRAMMY awards.
SFGC’s leadership maintains a dual focus on artistic innovation and fostering the best possible opportunities for its young members, an ethos that led to the partnership with JackTrip Labs.
‘We’ve been using JackTrip for two years now, during the entire pandemic,’ said SFGC artistic director Valérie Sainte-Agathe. ‘It was the only technology that allowed a chorus of 50-100 choristers to sing together successfully over the internet. I was finally able to build a programme, to have the music ready to sing during the pandemic.’
Rehearsing over JackTrip’s Virtual Studio proved to be so successful that the Chorus even used the platform for their 2021 live-streamed Gala.
Using JackTrip, SFGConnect will now become a new and regular part of SFGC’s educational program starting in autumn 2022.
For many singers, SFGConnect represents something fundamental: a chance to learn and grow with like-minded people.
‘The technology aspect is important,’ according to Sainte-Agathe, ‘but what’s most important for me is the connection between people.’
JackTrip Labs co-founder Alan Hu said, ‘Put yourself in the shoes of a parent with a driven young singer, but because you live in a small community some 200 miles away, you can’t access SFGC even though your child is deserving of that level of training.
‘With this innovative SFGConnect program, your young singer can participate in this world-class organisation to develop their musical skills to the highest level, to bond with other kids with similar capabilities. That social connection – that is the magic that I see here.’
‘In the future, I would like to see an entire version of the program online,’ says Sainte-Agathe, who makes it clear that, as always, the Chorus has no plans of slowing down.
‘This experience using JackTrip has opened doors. We can reach out to singers who are living throughout California, and maybe, if it’s possible later, throughout the country. Maybe around the world.’