Special to the news:
Twenty-two vocal music students from the Mount Vernon Senior High School Fine Arts Academy have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring. Not so much for vacation time or warmer weather but rather because of their upcoming trip to New York City’s Avery Fisher Hall and the New York premiere of Christopher Tin’s “Calling All Dawns.”
“Although many of the participants know the work, we have been in rehearsals for the past three weeks in preparation,” notes Academy vocal music teacher Dana Taylor, “This opportunity, just like last year’s Indiana premiere at Mount Vernon requires them to perform at a much higher level if they wish to be successful.”
Comprised of 12 movements in 12 different languages, “Calling All Dawns” features chorus, orchestra and soloists and takes the listener through a metaphorical sequence of day, night and dawn (life, death and rebirth). Singers from Mount Vernon will perform nine of the movements in conjunction with choirs from California, Pennsylvania and England. Four of the movements will feature performances by the original singers heard on the Grammy winning recording including “Anonymous 4.”
Taylor notes, “the Anonymous 4 connection is especially pleasing in that we have known them for several years and have brought two them of them here for workshops and performances and our women’s ensemble Angelus is modeled after them.”
Additionally, in February of 2012, with assistance from the “Under the Beams” concert series, the Fine Arts Academy and the University of Evansville sponsored a demonstration session with them at Wheeler Concert Hall on the UE campus.
Equally exciting is the opportunity to work again with composer Christopher Tin. Taylor recalls, “As a visiting artist in Mount Vernon last May, Chris engaged and charmed the students with his genuine appreciation for their efforts, his humility and energy, if we had tried to cast the role of ‘visiting artist,’ we could not have done better.”
“I think the students said it best,” Taylor said. “He’s won two Grammy Awards but is just a normal person.
The Mount Vernon experience has not been lost on Christopher Tin, New York concert-goers will see in his biography that May 4 is “Christopher Tin Day” in Mount Vernon.
Distinguished Concerts International New York, the sponsoring organization, didn’t know the work until Dana Taylor told them about it last summer. DCINY was encouraging the Mt. Vernon choir to come to New York and participate in one of their many concerts. As part of the discussion Taylor told them about Mount Vernon’s recent experience with “Calling All Dawns”, sent them a DVD of the performance and gave them Christopher Tin’s phone number. By mid-September it was confirmed and recruitment and fundraising began.
“The students are very excited about the opportunity to sing in New York and just this week, a new opportunity arose when DCINY alerted the school directors that they were now seeking participant auditions for solos in three of the movements,” Taylor said. “Auditions have been submitted and a decision will be made by April 3 or 4.”
A parent recently noted that the students are “very lucky” to have this opportunity. Taylor agreed but adds, “luck happens when hard work and opportunity meet. We are very fortunate to have students who are interested in pursuing opportunities and are willing to work hard to achieve, equally, we are fortunate to have parents, community members, administrators and a school district that encourage the pursuit of these opportunities.”
The singers will leave Mount Vernon on April 4 and will begin rehearsals with the conductor on April 5. The culminating performance takes place on Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m. They will return on April 8.
While in New York, the students and chaperones will tour Central Park, Battery Park and see a Broadway show (or two) and do some requisite sight-seeing.
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