State College

Practice makes perfect: Young singers use concert to prep for national competition

The Concordia Singers, of the Nittany Valley Children’s Choir, will perform at Trinity Lutheran Church Saturday in preparation for the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Feb.28.
The Concordia Singers, of the Nittany Valley Children’s Choir, will perform at Trinity Lutheran Church Saturday in preparation for the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Feb.28. Photo provided

The hills may be snowy but come Saturday night they’ll also be alive with the sound of music.

Trinity Lutheran Church in Patton Township will host The Concordia Singers, a band of choral performers from the Nittany Valley Children’s Choir. The concert, beginning at 7:30 p.m., will feature the entire set list that the group is scheduled to perform at the Feb. 28 American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Concordia Singers were the only choir to be selected to perform in the children’s category.

“It’s a very great honor. It’s very stiff competition because there are many great groups from across the nation,” children’s choir founding director Lou Ann Shafer said.

Held every two years, the ACDA National Conference selects choirs based on audition tapes submitted from across the country. When The Concordia Singers were notified last summer that they had been chosen to perform, they were faced with the challenge of having to assemble an entirely new program to sing in front of what Shafer estimates will be an audience of 5,000 choral directors.

“It can be a very intimidating audience,” Shafer said.

In addition to a selection of traditional choral songs like “Psalm 150” by Zoltan Kodaly and “Alleluia” by Paul Basler, the group commissioned an original piece with words by Mark Boyle, an assistant professor of music and director of choral and vocal activities at Seton Hill University, and music by Joseph Gregorio, a composer and associate in performance at Swarthmore College.

Titled “The Hall” the newest addition to The Concordia Singers’ program focuses on a subject of relevance to its young performers.

“It speaks to the challenges of the school experience and how we as people work through it. It’s a very beautiful text and of course music, too,” Shafer said.

Although she admits the pressure of preparing for such a massive performance is daunting, Shafer said her students are handling everything very well.

“Its very humbling and very gratifying to see the students achieve at such an extraordinary level,” Shafer said.

For more information on the The Concordia Singers and The Nittany Valley Children’s Choir, visit www.nittanyvalleychildrenschoir.org.

  Comments