So I’ve been slacking a bit and haven’t kept y’all up to date on everything the choir did at the end of the semester. I’ll make a bullet list because they’re more fun to read than odious paragraphs:
We had our first “home” concert singing our tour repertoire (sorry I didn’t make a blog post for that, it was a crazy end of the semester). It was extremely nerve-racking and emotional to have our peers and professors watch and critique our performance for the first time. However, with all the amazingly positive feedback we received after the concert, it was impossible not to get amped for this stellar tour.
A portion of us (those of us in Symphonic Choir) performed Handel’s Messiah with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by the enchanting Jane Glover, in David Geffen Hall, formerly Avery Fisher Hall, at Lincoln Center. It taught me that the cure to any ailment is to work your tail off at something, prepare for hours and hours, and then get a 10-minute-long standing ovation from a packed audience that has paid a pretty penny to come see you (including Usher, who gave us a standing O, too). I wouldn’t be surprised if it could cure cancer. It is the epitome of pure bliss.
Last, but not least, we sang at annual Westminster benefit at the Racquet and Tennis Club in New York. It’s a private performance attended by many of Westminster Choir College’s benefactors where everyone is dressed to the nines and enjoys a night of holiday music performed by Westminster Choir. It’s always a beautiful evening (with some delicious carrot cake) but this year was especially wonderful. In memory of his wife Elsie Hillman, Henry Hillman donated $1 million to support Westminster Choir tours. As soon as it was announced, many of us broke down crying. I don’t think I can adequately explain what it means to us students to get a donation like that. Elsie Hillman was the granddaughter of Katharine Talbott (who helped found the college) and she also went to school here in the 40’s. She was a beloved alumna – anyone who met her was invigorated by her spirit and passion, and if they didn’t have the privilege of meeting her, they know about her legacy through her generosity. I hope that with every tour the Westminster Choir goes on in the future, we can properly carry her memory and legacy with us.
And, with that being our last experience with the full Westminster Choir before the semester ended, we came back to Princeton to rehearse. The day before tour we spend the entire day in intense preparation of all of the tour repertoire – about eight hours of singing to get back in the groove. Yes, we already performed this rep. Yes, we’re supposed to have it memorized. But after a week of pigging out on holiday goodies, opening presents, and lounging around to try and forget the trauma of finals week, we need to jog our memories (and our voices). It was a grueling day, but productive nonetheless. For someone who has been in Princeton all Winter Break, it’s great to be with my Westminster Choir family again. 🙂 These goobers love me and accept me, craziness and all, and I can’t wait to go on tour with them.
Happy New Year y’all and I hope to see some familiar faces at our tour performances!