Surprising Symphonic Sleepover in Philadelphia

In my last blog post, I mentioned certain weather surprises that tried to prevent our travels to Baltimore for the ACDA Eastern Division conference. Unfortunately, the weather got the best of the Symphonic Choir during our preparation for a performance of Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski. After several snow days, our long awaited piano dress rehearsal with Jurowski came, where the vigorous and detailed conductor exacted every amount of emotional energy from the ensemble. It was such a beautifully energized rehearsal that allowed us to tap into the “Russian energy” needed to perform this gifted work.

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The next couple days brought along some surprises…

On Wednesday, February 12th, Symphonic Choir left Westminster Choir College with overnight bags and performance attire prepared to stay and meet the approaching snowstorm in Philadelphia. After another great rehearsal with the orchestra, all were warned of the storm’s impact on the mid-Atlantic and rumor spread about a forthcoming second night stay in Philadelphia. As time passed into later evening, we were all told that we were staying Thursday night as well, although no storm had hit yet. Imagine 165 students staying in the Doubletree Hilton hotel in Philadelphia. An evening of friendly encounters and supportive conversations gave way to an early morning of long-awaited answers.

We had performances scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of February 13th, 14th, and 15th. Due to the weather’s impact on the mid-Atlantic, our first performance was cancelled and we were stranded in Philadelphia for another night. Many students ran to a nearby Macy’s to acquire necessities (including clean underwear) for our second night’s stay. The hotel staff was wonderfully accommodating, as well as our staff and graduate assistants, who helped facilitate all of our surprise sleepover needs. Our Thursday agenda including a 45 minute detail rehearsal with Dr. Miller at the Kimmel Center, then we were left to our own devices.

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Many went out to dinner, others stayed in and watched movies and socialized.

Friday gave way to a brief run-through of the work and our first performance. Spending Valentine’s Day locked away inside a hotel with 165 of your closest classmates is an experience I will never forget. After spending a day working on schoolwork and preparing for the performance, we finally donned attire and took to the Verizon Hall stage. A successful first performance after such a variety of surprises made the trip extremely worth it. This is an experience I will never forget!

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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