DVC music student selected to prestigious symphony chorus


Kendall Brescia

DVC music student Toran Davenport wass selected to the prestigious San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Kendall Brescia / The Inquirer

Daniel Maraccini, Staff member

Toran Davenport, 20, has been singing since he was five years old. He has toured in eight different countries and performed in four different operas all the while being a student at Diablo Valley College, but Davenport’s recent accomplishment may be his most impressive yet.

Last July, Davenport became one of the newest and youngest members of the acclaimed San Francisco Symphony Chorus.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing all the amazing singers and working with some of the best talent in the Bay Area,” he said.

The “best talent” Davenport speaks of are the 157 other performers in the SFS Chorus. Together, the group upholds the rich 40-year history of the SFS Chorus.

Led by director Ragnar Bohlin, the group has won eight Grammy Awards, three of which were for Best Choral Performance. They can be heard in Academy Award winning films such as “The Godfather Part III” and “Amadeus.”

The audition, which was judged by the assistant chorus director, took place over four days. It was divided into two parts; the first part was intervals, the second part was singing selected excerpts and lastly, performing a song of Davenport’s choice.

“I chose ‘Il Mio Bel Foco,’” he said. “It was in another language…and I’d been working on it with my voice teacher for a couple months, so it was one of my stronger songs.”

Davenport is also an active student of DVC’s music department. As a member of the Chamber Singers vocal ensemble, he performs with many of the school’s best singers.

“You could tell that he was sharp,” Brett Peppo, director of the Chamber Singers, said. “He has perfect pitch… he could sing a [chromatic scale] right out of the blue.”

“I was a little worried about how young I was,” Davenport said. He estimates he is one of the youngest in the SFS Chorus.

When rehearsals begin on September 9 he will join a diverse group of performers many of whom are in their 30’s and 40’s.

Peppo points out that it is unusual for someone like Davenport to be in the SFS Chorus.

“People that write books about choral singing sing in the choir. It’s usually not the 19-year-old sophomore from Community College,” Peppo said, “It’s wonderful. It’s great that he’s in there and it’s going to make him even better.”

Davenport and the SFS Chorus’ first performance of the 2014-2015 season will be on Sept. 5 at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct the SFS in a performance of “Also Sprach Zarathustra.”