Growing Up with San Francisco Choral Artists

May 13, 2014

Elizabeth-NixonIn a way, I grew up with SF Choral Artists. My father, composer Roger Nixon, was a good friend of SFCA’s founder, Ralph Hooper.  I remember attending choral concerts at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco thirty years ago with Hooper conducting – I was a lot younger then.  Later, when Magen Solomon took over as Artistic Director, I remember meeting her at my parent’s house where my Dad would work with Magen in his studio to merge the creative processes of composing and performing to produce beautiful choral works. I recall his excitement after returning from rehearsals where the singers brought the music alive in a way only a group like SFCA could accomplish.

When Nixon was the first composer in Residence with SFCA in 1999, I brought my newborn daughter to the winter concert to hear “the music of angels” (which is how my Dad referred to SFCA and Magen’s artistic command), introducing her to musical perfection at an early age. Thankfully, she didn’t make a peep during the concert! I am sure that is why at 14 she loves singing and is passionate about the choir she sings with. You can meet her when she ushers at SFCA concerts!

In the Fall of 2009 when my father passed away, SFCA was preparing to perform its Winter concert, including several of Nixon’s pieces. He had been so looking forward to attending that concert – he was recovering from cancer treatment and had not been able to attend a live musical performance for many months.  Magen turned the performance into a touching tribute to my father – my four siblings and I attended the concert and I was so moved by the elegance and tenderness of the music I heard, and the lovely tribute she and singers paid.

Later, when the SFCA Board of Directors approached my twin sister Jennifer (also a singer!) and me to join, it just felt like the right thing to do. For me, experiencing the inner workings of SFCA with its passionate commitment to choral music keeps the memory of my father alive. Through financial support of the SFCA and the initiation of the Roger Nixon Living Music Initiative, my siblings and I honor the musical tradition of creativity and the excellence it delivers.

Best of all, now three times a year I have the privilege to share in the richness and beauty of these wonderful choral concerts – always a rewarding adventure that demands of me that I am fully present, transcending the busy world around me and experiencing amazing music that touches my heart and rejuvenates my  soul.