Concert choir gives special performance

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The concert choir's special concert closed the chapter on the group's chapter on their trip to Carnegie Hall in New York. Pictured, Romond DuVal sang the solo on "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me" at the concert.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The concert choir performed a number of difficult pieces at the concert, with most of them being college level compositions. Most of the songs they sang, including the opening "Star Spangled Banner," were composed or arranged by composer Eric Whitacre.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The choir students took time out of the concert to explain how much it means to them to get to perform for veterans and fulfill their mission, "to serve others who have served."

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The Fitch concert choir performed a special concert on April 30 in the Fitch auditorium. The group sang songs that they sang on a special trip to Carnegie Hall, where composer Eric Whitacre invited them to perform.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

The Austintown Fitch concert choir performed a selection of songs that they sang during their trip to New York this year.

The special concert, “The Music of Eric Whitacre,” in the Fitch auditorium on April 30 covered songs that the group performed in the prestigious Carnegie Hall on April 8. The students sang songs mostly composed by Whitacre, who conducted the group at Carnegie Hall.

“It was a humbling experience,” said choir director Bill Klein about performing at the hall under Whitacre. The school was one of 15 groups selected to perform during Whitacre’s concert. The concert featured international school groups and professional choirs.

They performed the full repertoire of songs again at Fitch for the community. The concert was free and featured nine songs, plus a traditional “Amen” to close the set. Many of the songs were in another language. The program given at the event translated the songs for the attendees.

For Klein, the difficult part was not singing in another language but the difficulty of the songs. He said most of the songs, outside of two, were college level difficulty, including John Mackey’s “Rumor of the Secret King,” which he called “the hardest piece of music I’ve ever come in contact with,” during the concert.

Klein said he wanted this performance to close the chapter on the Carnegie experience and refocus the group on the mission of the choir, “to serve those who have served.” While in on their trip, they visited the Community Living Center, the mental health clinic and a nursing ward at the Lyons Veteran’s Hospital in New Jersey to perform for the veterans.

The group always performs at a veteran’s hospital at least once during the school year. They also sing at Fitch’s assembly and dinner for veterans. During the concert, several students spoke about why they enjoy performing for the veterans and how rewarding the experience is for them.

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