Tour 2014: Workshops and Travel to Austin

This morning was the earliest call of our tour so far. We finally got to work with high schools. This got our energy soaring through the roof, as the first two that were supposed to happen on tour didn’t because half the choir was stuck in Chicago. We made our way down to the bus at 7:45 a.m. and drove to Birdville High School.

It was such a pleasure to sing for these wonderful students. We sang a few hits from our program – Shenandoah, In Your Light, My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord, just to name a few – and Westminster Choir students introduced the pieces. During these workshops, Dr. Miller showcases the school in a variety of ways: describing the demographic of the students, the amount of undergraduates and graduate students in the choir, what majors are represented within the ensemble, and he introduces students from unique locations. Alto Magdalena Delgado was introduced because she’s from the Dominican Republic. Baritone Dominic Lam and soprano Vivian Suen were introduced because they’re both from Hong Kong. Our diversity is what brings us together as a community. A wonderful highlight for me during the first workshop was when Dr. Miller invited the students up to sing with us during Elder’s Ballade to the Moon. Their director began to weep as we all soaked up the beautiful moment together. Sharing music like this is equally as important as displaying our art to each other. The choir also sang for us, and what a sound it was! I’m absolutely enamored with the level of choral singing found in Texas. What a joy it is to be in a state that appreciates choral singing as much as Texas does.

Here’s a photo of some of the Birdville students singing Ballade to the Moon with us.
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We departed Birdville for Flower Mound High School, which was about 30 minutes away. The school hosted a delicious lunch for us: a variety of sandwich options with chips, drink, and a cookie. Choir members mingled with the high-school students who joined us, making this experience more meaningful in more than just a musical way. Tenor Justin Su’esu’e bonded with a group of Flower Mound students and created a trend they called “#jagnation,”  since the school mascot is a jaguar.  We sang for the ensemble and they returned the favor.   Here’s a photo of Justin with some of his new Jag Nation friends.

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Their choir lit up with true collegial fashion as they sang, which is something Westminster Choir College treasures. After a great question and answer session with the ensemble, we wrapped up and went to the bus to depart for Austin.

A three and a half hour bus ride led us to our next location in our Texas tour. Our resident Texan, baritone John Irving, relayed pertinent food information to all of the section leaders to plan our traditional sectional dinners. It’s a tradition on tour and in Charleston for our residency at the Spoleto Festival to go out and eat a meal as a section. We chose Austin as our destination for this tradition. Tenor Justin Su’esu’e planned a social gathering after dinner. Delicious meals ensued in four different locations and a fun time was had after dinner. Tomorrow brings another morning off and our fifth performance.

About Westminster Choir

Westminster Choir is composed of students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, a center for music study in Princeton, N.J.
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