Choir takes on Chicago with a performance at Orchestra Hall

Choir+takes+on+Chicago+with+a+performance+at+Orchestra+Hall

ZaZu Lippert

Excitement is in the air in the choir room over the upcoming trip to Chicago, where students from Bella Voce and Variations have been invited to perform at Orchestra Hall with other high school and junior college choirs from all over. MVHS’ choirs Bella Voce and Variations were invited by the Manhattan Concert Productions organization, after auditioning to perform at the hall with professional conductors and a live orchestra.

This concert is certainly not child’s play. Choir teacher Shari Summers had to sign a contract with the organization stating that MVHS’ choirs would be ready to go by the time they came to Chicago, and the organization required that they send in a tape a month in advance to show the choirs’ progress on the three songs they will sing together. While the event itself is a serious one, it is also a huge opportunity for choir students to sing in a renowned venue while working with professionals, gaining real-world experience in the realm of music careers.

The three pieces that choir will sing at the concert. Photo by ZaZu Lippert.
The three pieces that choir will sing at the concert. Photo by ZaZu Lippert.

The choirs will be singing classical pieces by famous composer Handel. These include “Zadok the Priest,” “Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened” and “The King Shall Rejoice.” Summers said these three songs are quite difficult, but the choir has been navigating them well. The songs go way back into English history, as Summers explained.

 

 

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Sophomore Shreya Roy from Bella Voce explains the rehearsal process for the concert.

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Students are also equally excited to immerse themselves in Chicago’s lively jazz culture during their time off on the trip. Summers has planned to take the choirs to see the House of Blues, go on a jazz bus tour and visit popular landmarks like the Sears Tower and the Boston Bean.

Junior Michael Burgess from Variations is most excited to explore Chicago and strengthen the bonds he shares with his fellow singers. He is also looking forward to the famed Chicago deep-dish pizza.

In the three days leading up to the concert on Monday, Apr.18, the choir students will rehearse with conductor Pearl Shangkuan for four hours each day to make sure that the pieces are performance-ready for the dress rehearsal before the show.

Summers says that the hardest one to teach and learn has been “Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened.”

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While students from Bella Voce and Variations attending the trip have a lot of work ahead of them, the trip promises a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform in a famed music hall and the chance to experience jazz culture—and snag some deep dish pizza along the way.