Sound of Success

If you're looking for good news -- about kids, the future, and the power of art to change the world -- you needn't look beyond the Oakland Youth Chorus

In the middle of one lackluster stab, Morant abruptly leaps from the piano seat and raises his voice above his students'. "I am dancing to the rhythm of the holy dance of life," he chants, and a half-circle of eyes widen at the rafter-rumbling melody line coursing out of Morant's slight frame, rigid with concentration. By song's end, every hand is clapping, every foot is stomping, and Morant again slips into the conductor's role, pointing at individual singers to chant louder, keeping the time with a bobbing arm. When the music finally stops -- and it doesn't stop for a full 10 minutes -- the room falls unusually quiet, everyone basking in the discharge of a strange energy.

The OYC sound.

Trente Morant conducts the Oakland Youth Chorus with his eyes as much as his hands.
Paolo Vescia
Trente Morant conducts the Oakland Youth Chorus with his eyes as much as his hands.

"That's the way that goes," Morant tells the chorus simply, sweat glistening on his forehead. "You're going to sound that wonderful, but we have lots of work to do."

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