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On a chilly winter night, there is no better way to stay warm than to attend a music program. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Women's Glee Club conducted by Dr. Sue Klausmeyer, hosted the ninth annual Women's Choral Showcase. Four of the top high school women's chorus ensembles from central North Carolina and the UNC Women's Glee Club performed a concert of superb choral selections. My mission was to listen to some local high school treble choirs and to take note of music their directors chose. The schools represented were: Cedar Ridge High School, Chapel Hill High School, Carrboro High School, and Durham School of the Arts. The program, a success on every front, took place at University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill. Despite the competing arts programs in the same neighborhood, the concert drew nearly a full house.
Klausmeyer welcomed the audience and introduced the participants. The theme of this year's concert was "Making Music, Making a Difference." The mission for this event was not just to collect cans for the hungry (NC Food Bank), but to bring high school women's choirs together in solidarity, and to put on display the excellent work occurring in our public school music programs. In turn, each of the pieces we heard, stitched together, reflected our global connectedness. Finally Klausmeyer, the director of the very successful Women's Glee Club, was planting seeds; these young singers will be the next generation of professional and amateur singers who, in turn, make our lives rich.
The young women from Cedar Ridge High School (Hillsborough, NC) opened the program with "Esto Les Digo" by Kinley Lange and "Go Where I send Thee" arranged by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory. Both were well prepared. The vocal quality of the Cedar Ridge group was sweet and clean, with beautiful phrasing, especially in the first, which they sang a cappella. The precisely placed half steps and closing cacophony of sound made the familiar gospel tune, "Go Where I Send Theem" inviting and fresh. Angie Phillips directs the Cedar Ridge singers. Kathy Arab accompanied on piano.
Chapel Hill High School singers performed two contrasting selections a cappella: "Cantante Domino" by the prolific Italian composer, Giuseppe Pitoni (1657-1743) and arranged by Norman Greyson, and a Kenyan folk song, "Wana Baraka" arranged by Shawn L. Kirchner. This group excelled in musical precision and blend. The Chapel Hill singers are directed by Jeremy Nabors.
Carrboro High School singers presented "Hoj, hura, hoj!" by Otmar Macha and "Iraqi Peace Song" arranged by Lori Tennerhouse. With fine vocal quality, the small group yielded rich dissonance and melodic clarity. Three talented young singers shared the solo part. Sarah Derby's lovely cello playing enhanced the second piece. Kay Johnson directs the ensemble.
Bringing more than seventy young singers, Durham School of the Arts gave a fine presentation of two spirituals: "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" arranged by J. David Moore, and "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around," arranged by Rollo Dilworth. Led by a collaboration of directors – Sydney Boggs, Amy Davis and Sean Grier – the group was highly disciplined with marvelous ensemble skills. Impressive!
Following the UNC Glee Club's performance, all of the women sang "Famine Song" written by a quartet of women named VIDA and arranged by Matthew Culloton. The exquisite treble arrangement performed for this program was moving, and the perfect closing.
Congratulations to the musicians who collaborated to make this an exciting program.