North Colonie Welcomes Conductor and Composer Duo

Sophia Papoulis, associate conductor of the Young People’s Chorus (YPC) in NYC and Shaker High School alum (’02), and husband Jim Papoulis, composer and conductor, visited 6-12 music students last week.

Sophia Papoulis with NC students
Sophia Papoulis, associate conductor of the Young People’s Chorus (YPC) in NYC and Shaker High School alum (’02) worked with middle and high school students during a recent visit.

Sophia worked with middle and high school choruses. Jim led songwriting workshops for 8th grade general music students and led workshops focused on composition, rhythmic drumming circles and songwriting with SHS choir, band, orchestra, music theory, and music tech students.

Sophia Papoulis serves as the principal conductor of YPC’s Prelude division. Since 2007, she has conducted and prepared young people from eight to 18 in all YPC divisions for performances in the city’s most prestigious venues, on international tours, as well as in recording sessions and for radio and TV appearances. She also serves as the creative director for the Foundation for Small Voices, a not-for-profit organization that brings choral, songwriting, and mentorship programs to children around the world. A widely sought-after guest conductor and choral clinician, Sophia most recently brought her expertise to singers in Spain and the UK.

Jim composes, orchestrates, and conducts music for dance, film, ensembles, and choirs. His compositions are known for exploring new modes of musical communication by honoring and connecting classical and traditional forms with non-Western sounds. He has worked with choirs and ensembles on all continents and from all walks of life. In addition, he has collaborated with such well known artists as Arethra Franklin, Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, and the Moscow Philharmonic.

The 8th grade music students collaborated on lyrics that expressed their own desire to escape the pressures of adolescence and find their own voice, their own sense of who they are and will become:

Open up the door to who I am.

Only I can find the key.

Only I will know when I find it…

The original song was recorded by SHS chorus students, and will be mixed by the composer into an original track for our school community. 

“It was so exciting for our students to come together to create original music together as a classroom community. It was also a true privilege to bring Sophia home to Shaker to inspire the next generation in Shaker’s chorus program,” said District Music Supervisor Deborah Keough.

This opportunity was funded equally by the North Colonie Friends of Music (NCFOM) and a grant to NCFOM from the Albany County Legislature through Albany County Legislator David Mayo.

Composer Jim Papoulis with SHS students
Jim Papoulis, composer and conductor, visited 6-12 music students.

Learn more about Sophia and Jim:

Sophia Papoulis

Jim Papoulis