It is concert day! Today we will perform music from our 2012 tour – music we have lived with the entire school year. The choir became a unit through the learning of these pieces. At the Westminster Choir retreat, which takes place one of the first weekends in September at a camp in northwest New Jersey, we were reading through the piece “Long Road” by Erik Essevalds for the first time, and we had our first collective extreme emotion. The tears started on the end of the altos with Danielle Callahan, and rippled through the choir. The poetry and the music were so lovely and poignant, that a brand new ensemble couldn’t help but be affected by its beauty. And this was in September. You may imagine how we have grown into the music of this concert, breathing and moving, shaping every sound and giving life to every phrase.
Our morning rehearsal was at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, and there was so much frenetic energy pulsing through the ensemble that it was sometimes difficult to stay intently focused. There were some really funny moments – like when we checked our memorization on one of the pieces and people sang the parts of sections other than their own, and when we experimented with our opening piece and from where in the church we were going to sing it. There were some emotional moments, like when Maggie Montoney stepped forward to sing the solo in ‘Light of a Clear Blue Morning’.
The concert was completely sold out, every seat full and standing room claimed. Many of the principals from Kepler were in attendance, including Leah Wool, John Hancock, Matt Boehler, and Kathryn Krasovec. The performance was at once organic and inspired – the listeners were so rapt that it was so easy to feed their enthusiasm with our own. After singing two encores, we exited out the back of the church and greeted our audience.
After the concert, many choristers attended a concert at the Cistern – Jake Shimabukuro. He is a ukulele virtuoso, and it was such a fun performance! The program was surprisingly varied – he played an arrangement of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, a Japanese folk song, and original works to name a few. We got a bit rained on, but it was such a joyous atmosphere that we barely noticed.
Since after the concert we were still in the mood to celebrate, a group of Westminsterites headed to Pantheon, a terrific dance club just off of King Street. We danced into the wee hours, and slept fitfully with dreams of today’s concerts and tomorrow’s adventures.