SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD: The Story of the Southern California Youth Chorale
SCYC/MA Tour Locations
1965 – England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Holland
70 Singers – No Instrumentalists
1966 – England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, East and West Berlin, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Switzerland, France.
71 Singers – No Instrumentalists
1967 – No Tour
1968 – Germany, Belgium, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria
90 Singers – No Instrumentalists
1969 – Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria
100 Singers – No Instrumentalists
1970 – Japan
67 Singers – Instrumentalists incorporated into singer count
1971 – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, England, Holland
82 Singers – 1 Instrumentalist, others incorporated into singer count
1972 – Japan, Hong Kong, Republic of China-Taiwan, Hawaii
69 Singers – Instrumentalists incorporated into singer count
1973 – England, Russia, Holland, Wales
72 Singers – 5 Instrumentalists
1974 – Japan
72 Singers – 4 Instrumentalists
1975 – South America – Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia
72 Singers – 7 Instrumentalists
1976 – Japan, South Korea
65 Singers – 9 Instrumentalists
1977 – No Tour
1978 – Japan, South Korea
28 Singers – 7 Instrumentalists
27 Countries – England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, (East and West Berlin), Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Japan, Belgium, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia, Wales, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, South Korea.
These songs were performed by several touring groups over the years:
The Mystic Trumpeter by Williametta Spencer - "Dedicated to K. Gene Simmonds and the Southern California Youth Chorale".
Song of the Open Road by Norman Dello Joio. Lyrics adapted from a poem by Walt Whitman.
Jubilant Song by Norman Dello Joio.
"We sing to the joys of youth, and the joy of a glad lighted-beaming day. Our spirit sings a jubilant song that is to life full of music, a life full of concord, and harmony. We sing of prophetic joys and lofty ideals. We sing of universal love awakening in the hearts of men. Listen to our song."
Battle Hymn of the Republic - The traditional end of the concert program. Alumni were invited to join the current Chorale members on stage to sing.
It's All Over Me, Spiritual - Jester Hairston. Spirituals were always included in the program and were very popular with the audience.
A 1920s Montage such as - I Wanna Be Loved by You Medley was almost always included from 1970-1978.
FUN FACT – 1971 was the first year the Southern California Youth Chorale Performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles.
FUN FACT – The Southern California Youth Chorale, over the fourteen-year span when it was active, did not tour two years. They happened to be 1967 and 1977!
FUN FACT – When the group would touch down on American soil, after their long tour, they would burst into the “Star Spangled Banner”, often to great surprised applause by the other passengers on the plane.
FUN FACT – In 1973, after the first and only tour of Russia which was sometimes rather tense but eye-opening and educational, one member, Scott Veatch, kissed the ground after their plane landed back in the USA. Here’s a picture:
FUN FACT – At the last concert of the season all alumni, in the audience, were invited up to the stage to sing our signature song, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. This tradition started when, in 1966, most of the members of the 1965 first year group decided to surprise Mr. Simmonds. They had a second set of risers placed behind a curtain so that when Mr. Simmonds started conducting the opening instrumental part of the song, the curtains opened and there were the alumni members ready to sing along. He was bowled over!
FUN FACT – After touring Japan numerous times, and having the name Southern California Youth Chorale not roll off the tongue with such ease, the Japanese audiences and media started calling the group The Musical Americans and in 1975 that name was adopted.
FUN FACT – The most amount of times anyone went on tour was five consecutive years by Janet Skinner – Horton, from 1971-1975. She says she would have loved to have gone again but, as she had finished college, she had to start making a living! Tony Moore may be able to match her but no one can beat her!
FUN FACT - We've had royalty in our midst! Margolyn Johnson, 1970 to Japan, became the 1972 Rose Queen in the 82nd Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade and reigned over her court. And Deanna Rae Fogarty, 1978 to Japan and South Korea, went from being crowned Miss Azusa to become Miss California in the 1979 Miss America Pageant. She then toured with the Miss America USO Troupe and was a featured performer for several Miss America Pageants in the early 80s!
FUN FACT – Not only were many of the Chorale great singers and dancers, but quite a few also played instruments either with the band or as a solo act. Some of the instruments played were: Conga drums, Japanese Koto, Ukulele, Accordion, Trumpet, Trombone, Piano, French Horn, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Drum set, Percussion, Saxophone, Clarinet and the Banjo.
FUN FACT – The Chorale also had the opportunity to perform two USO shows for the troops at the Camp Casey Army Base in Dongducheon, South Korea in 1976 and also aboard the Naval Aircraft Carrier USS Midway when it was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan in 1978.
FUN FACT - Some members had to take a long trip to rehearsals. One boy had to ride a bus from Visalia - 192 miles. Others had a longer trip, 223 miles, from Blythe, but they carpooled.
FUN FACT – The last performance of the Southern California Youth Chorale / Musical Americans, was in 1978 at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena.