Rising music star Grace VanderWaal has exploded into stardom since she won season 11 of America’s Got Talent in 2016. Known for her unique voice, the now-15-year-old is the youngest person ever included on Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 music list, and she has made guest appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, among many others. She will also star in Disney’s upcoming film Stargirl.
Filmmaker Mark Lalonde is creating a feature-length documentary film about VanderWaal called “Grace VanderWaal: I Now Know My Name” that will be released this winter. This is where Orpheus, Mr. Joseph Alvarado’s premier orchestra at Bronx Prep, comes into the picture.
When looking for an orchestral composer for the film, director Mark Lalonde wanted someone who could adapt some of VanderWaal’s original songs for a classical sounding score.
“I eventually found the perfect match to meet the needs of our documentary,” said Lalonde. “Fate played its hand and directed us to the team that was meant to provide our score. We were deeply impressed and inspired by Joseph Alvarado’s arrangements of pop songs and the performances by his students.”
Orpheus and Alvarado’s unique music program at Bronx Prep caught the eye of Lalonde early on for many reasons. For one, Alvarado’s orchestra students perform orchestral arrangements of popular contemporary music. Lalonde was also excited that the group is comprised of young New Yorkers.
“As a music educator, most especially in New York, specifically working with children the age that Grace seeks to help with her foundation, we thought Joseph Alvarado would be a perfect match for our project as a score composer and arranger,” said Lalonde. “Given Grace’s strong commitment to supporting music education in schools, we felt it would be very fitting to have contributions from the students in Orpheus. We are thrilled that the score of our film will be performed by students Grace’s age and state.”
Asked about what he thought about Orpheus’ recording sessions for the film, Lalonde commented, “Wow! My expectations were pretty high, but what Alvarado and the kids have provided is truly far and above any hopes I had. I am so impressed by the final results. Everything was simply perfect and will go a long way to making a truly memorable and moving documentary. Their contribution will receive significant attention.”
Reflecting about Orpheus’ journey so far, Alvarado remarked, “I’ve said before that I see Orpheus always forming into something greater. It looks like every year they outdo themselves in spite of the very real obstacles we face. I’m proud of the work we’ve done and everything we’ve accomplished after nearly a decade since the group’s inception.”
VanderVault Studios has released a behind-the-scenes featurette (below) that focuses on the creation of the orchestral score by Joseph Alvarado and performed by Orpheus in their first-ever studio recording. This is one of several (HD) promo trailers that will be released in the months leading up to the documentary’s winter premiere.