MCHS Concert Choir returns to Lincoln Center

MASON CITY — The 90-member Mason City Concert Choir, under the direction of Joel Everist, will perform at Lincoln Center on Monday, March 28, as part of the New York Choral Festival. Students leave March 24 and return March 29. The choir will be one of four invited to be featured in an evening showcase concert in the newly-renovated Alice Tully Hall.

“It’s exciting; it may be the only opportunity I have to go, to have that wonderful cultural immersion,” said senior Miles Brainard.

The event is not judged. Still, choir members said they feel pressure to uphold the tradition of excellence in Mason City music.

“It’s not a competition; it’s a challenge,” said senior Michael Betz, adding members understand the need to represent the school and community in a professional fashion.

Everist said the MCHS choir would be in good company, singing alongside college-based and professional choirs. Gig Harbor High School in Gig Harbor, Wash., is well-known for its excellence and has been a past competitor with Mason City, said Everist. The Gimnasio La Montana Choir is from Bogota, Colombia. The Williamson Voices is from the Westminster Choir College of Ryder University in Princeton, N.J. Director James M. Jordan is the author of several choral books and recently included the MCHS Concert Choir in one of them.

An added feature this year is a stop in Washington, D.C. Logistics of the trip allowed the choir to travel to the nation’s capital and still save money, said Everist. The group — which always raises its own funds for travel and competitions — saved about $200 per student due to the lower hotel and museum costs in Washington, D.C., rather than spending the first night in New York City. Students will also work with several clinicians during the trip, including Jordan; Geoffrey Boers, from the University of Washington at Seattle; Lee Nelson, from Wartburg College; and Paul Torkelson, former Wartburg professor of music who today works for MidAmerica Productions in New York. While in Washington D.C., students will visit the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Center. In New York, the group will tour the United Nations and NBC Studios as well as enjoy some Broadway productions.

An extensive renovation closed the Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center for some years. The last time the choir sang in the center was six years ago. After the renovation “many are calling it the best recital hall in the country,” Everist said.

by Deb Nicklay for The Globe Gazette


(This story was published March 10, 2011)

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