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Val Noronha, Bass

New to the SBCS Bass section this season, Val is not new to music and singing. He grew up embedded with musicians in Bombay. His mum had played lead roles in Il Trovatore and Pirates of Penzance. His dad worked alongside Victor Paranjoti (India’s Leonard Bernstein) and Mehli Mehta (father of Zubin Mehta), among others, to promote classical music in the city. [In the photo, Mr. Paranjoti walks Val down to the beach, with Dad behind.] While in elementary school, Val often did his homework in the back of the hall where his parents rehearsed with the Paranjoti Chorus. That early immersion became the bedrock of his musical training. He started piano lessons at 6, and stood to attention by his dad among the basses in the church choir — pitching an octave high, perhaps?

Over the next few years, lessons were abandoned and necessity begged improvisation. In the school band, the fiddles and clarinets had their scores, but not the piano. So he played by ear. A neighbor (who could not read music) showed him how to jazz up a tune. In the college choir, André de Quadros gave him two lessons in conducting, then handed him the baton. “On stage, during a performance. Only André would do that,” he recalls. Val went on to direct amateur choirs and school musicals, including Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Oliver, arranging orchestral and choral parts.

He then went to Canada for doctoral study, and spent 15 years there and in Australia, before moving to Santa Barbara in the late 1990s. In Edmonton, he sang with the Greenwood Singers under Bob de Frece; they performed with the Edmonton Symphony at Christmas concerts, most memorably with Santa Barbara native Newton Wayland as guest conductor. Later in Mississauga (Toronto), Val was with the Mississauga Choral Society; and in Santa Barbara with the UCSB Chamber Choir under Michel Gervais.
He likes tinkering with music: harmonizing, arranging and synthesizing mp3’s. But most of all, accompanying impromptu singing. “When folks are milling around the piano, having a good time, they don’t get upset over a few wrong notes,” he laughs. “When they break into parts spontaneously … now that’s magic!”

Val is a management consultant in geographic information science, GPS, “big data” and transportation. He enjoys hiking and camping, and trains Boy Scouts. His top travel recommendation? The Dempster Highway to the Arctic Circle.

Val and his wife Pat have two boys. Kelvin, a graduate of Dos Pueblos, is studying towards an MD at Boston University. Keegan, an Eagle Scout and Senior Class President at Dos Pueblos, is charting a career in law and politics.