Solo in Scotland: La Jolla singer tours with San Diego Children’s Choir

Ever since La Jolla resident and Muirlands Middle School student Solomon Weinstein was a young child, he loved to sing. He made so much vocal noise, his parents gave him the nickname “Solo.” He was born into a musical family; father Joshua plays the piano, and mother Sarah Schwartz is a violinist for the San Diego Symphony.

Coming into his own as a vocalist, Solo has been part of the San Diego Children’s Choir for the last three years, and recently returned from a trip to perform across Scotland with 19 other singers.

“I love to sing and the San Diego Children’s Choir was a good fit for me,” 12-year-old Solo said. “I love that you can put your feelings into song when you can’t always put them into words.” When it comes to performing, Solo said he prefers jazz, but when it comes to listening to music for enjoyment, nothing tops The Beatles.

Choir Artistic Director Ruthie Millgard explained: “The Choir has been in existence since 1990, and we participate in tours, off and on, to different places. We’ve been to Quebec, Great Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland a few other states in America, and we’ll be heading to Vienna in a few summers.” Singers must be part of the advanced ensemble to qualify for the trip.

The week of July 7-16, a select group headed to Scotland. “It was a lot of fun, and my first time to Europe,” Solo said. “We saw a lot of cathedrals, beautiful buildings, and the William Wallace monument. They say on a clear day, from the monument, you can see coast to coast, but it wasn’t clear enough that day.”

The San Diego Choir performed on its own and with other groups. “It was really cool to see the music the other groups did, compared to what we do,” Solo added. “We did a song by Aaron Copeland and a group from Colorado did the same song. When we did it, it was very unique. They did more of a normal style. At the same time, they had choreography we didn’t have, and I think we could learn some of that. Hopefully, they learned something from us, too.”

More broadly, Solo said it was great to get to know international singers and “how music brings people together.”

The singers range from age 11 to 18, but Millgard said Solo is “12 going on 40,” because of his maturity level. “He brings a sophisticated element because he is very academic with his process. He is a piano player, like his dad, and can bring music reading to the table and exceptional rhythm. He loves the intellectual side of music-making and brings the intellectual to the creative,” she said.

Solo joins the more than 475 singers countywide who study with the San Diego Children’s Choir here at home. With most of the performance calendar behind them, the Choir’s next big shows are at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park on Nov. 11 and a holiday sing-along on Dec. 8 at College Avenue Baptist Church, 4747 College Ave.

With the mission of “music education and performance opportunities that foster performance excellence,” Millgard said the Choir is about educating “the whole child” and “giving them the skills to pursue music throughout their lives and inspire them to love music throughout their lives.” She added that the Choir is always recruiting new members.

—For more details, visit sdcchoir.org

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