Our last rehearsal of Spoleto was this morning, and we worked on the work Seven Last Words from the Cross by Daniel Elder. Daniel is a member of the Westminster Choir, and a composer. As soon as we get back to Princeton from Charleston, we will hop on a bus and head to Massachusetts to begin recording this piece. The full album will consist exclusively of Daniel’s music and will be released under the Naxos label – keep your eyes out!
We had lunch at Leaf with Dr. Flummerfelt – yet another instance of interesting conversation coupled with great food. About half of the choir was able to sit at a very large table and ask questions, listen to stories, talk about music. He kept saying how he was appreciative of our time, and we were grinning like kids for the chance to know him better.
After lunch, a few of us went to purchase items for the Westminster Choir party. We met at Dr. Miller’s Charleston home for a lovely evening with perfect weather and wonderful company. Dr. Miller is being hosted most graciously by the McCann’s, and the party was in their beautiful garden.
In addition to the traditional toast, we took time to crown Alexa Cotrell, soprano, the queen of the choir for the night. She was accepted into the Westminster Choir as a sophomore, and has participated in the Spoleto festival for three years. In addition to a crown and a glow-stick scepter, Alexa got a delicious cupcake with a 3’ candle to celebrate her history with the festival.
Stephanie Council, alto, was the graduate assistant for the choir, and the choir showed their appreciation to her with a pair of Charleston gate earrings and a couple of toy cowboy guns that she can take to Texas Tech where she will be pursuing her doctorate in choral conducting. Dr. Miller expressed his appreciation for Stephanie with an art print, hugs and a few tears.
Danielle Callahan, alto, Stephanie Council, alto, Brian Krajik, tenor, John Hudson, tenor, Lisa Diver, soprano, and Will Vallandigham, bass, served the choir in perhaps the most thankless position – section leaders. As Dr. Miller so eloquently stated, it is the job of these individuals to inspire us when we don’t want to be inspired, and to fix whatever needs attention in the most detailed fashion. All of the section leaders received ‘love notes’ from the members of their section; the ladies received scarves and the men got bow ties.
Danielle Callahan (with help from Mary Hewlett, alto, and Myles Glancy, bass) created a beautiful scrapbook for Dr. Miller from the choir. Each page has a picture chosen by a chorister of their favorite memory from the year, and a brief note of what exactly it meant to them. The final product was a snapshot of our collective love for our community, and for our fearless leader.