Day 3: Choirs of America Workshops at Queens College
Our third day of trip is complete and it was one of our most productive days yet. Our day started extremely early – the youth choir was dressed and eating breakfast by 6:30am. This was especially impressive due to the fact that our arrival to the hotel last night was close to midnight. It took a lot of disciple, but our group did a great job of getting ready in a fast and orderly fashion.
Bob and Deb of American Heritage Trails have been driving us through New York and have been impressive with how they have handled the crazy New York traffic. They’ve been great at getting us everywhere on time every time.
We made our way to Queens College, where we spent most of the day for rehearsals and workshops. Our first performance was critiqued by several judges that helped us fine tune our songs. We were one of the several talented choir groups to perform that morning. Our performance was followed by a work shop led by Dr. Andre Thomas, Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Choral Music Education at Florida State University.
His workshop helped the students better control their performance and make their singing and presentation airtight. This fresh perspective and talented insight helped Voices of Unity to get better, not only for Carnegie Hall but for our upcoming trip to Riga, Latvia for the 2014 World Choir Games.
After a great workshop with Dr. Thomas, we headed over to the campus cafeteria to eat a well earned lunch. We had our first opportunity to relax and refuel for the upcoming workshops at the Queen College campus. After lunch, we made our way to a friendly choir exchange where each youth choir took a turn rehearsing in front of their peers. The diverse stylings of each choir was great to hear and we were able to experience performances from choirs from around the country.
After getting better aquainted with the other youth choirs, we walked the campus and discovered a nice ampitheatre. We couldn’t help but hang out and take a few family portraits!
Once we were able to explore the campus on Queen College we headed to next workshop. This was led by Bryce Pinkham, who is currently in the broadway show “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”. In this workshop Bryce explored what it takes to be more comfortable as a performer, both on and off Broadway. A few of the Voices of Unity Youth Choir were chosen to be participants in his exciting exercises. They played musical chairs with a performance twist along with members from other choirs. They learned how to better balance following rules and guidelines with having fun and giving a great performance to a captive audience.
The exercises helped visualize Bryce’s point and gave the children a great experience along the way. It was an amazing way for the children to be more relaxed and show their passion during their performances; something that’s sure to help every young performer.
For our last workshop, we had the honor of being under the instruction of Rollo Dilworth, a published composer and Chair of Music Education and Music Therapy at Boyer College. Mr. Dilworth’s workshop was unique in the way that he organized the youth choirs. Instead of organizing the students by youth choir, he organized them by sections. By doing this, he was able to better instruct the students in their appropriate sections.
The choirs had a unified rehearsal, where they went from being separate choirs to a single, integrated choir. They practiced and improved on the song “Rockin' Jerusalem”, which they will be performing together at Carnegie Hall on Saturday.
After our last workshop with Mr. Rollo Dilworth, a very tired Voices of Unity Youth Choir headed for the buses. After a long day of workshops, we traveld back to the hotel to eat and rest before our big performance at Carnegie Hall. It was our most productive day yet, and one that will pay off in all future performances. The day of our big concert at Carnegie is getting closer by the minute and we are constantly working on perfecting our skills.
See all of the pictures from our third day and the rest of the trip on our Facebook page. You can also follow our journey live on Twitter and Instagram as well as our hashtag #VoicesofUnityNYC!