Welcome back to the 2014-15 school year! For those new to our choirs at the high school, I hope you enjoy the class, learn a lot, and take advantage of all the opportunities this year. Returning members, this year will be different in terms of preparation for performances. Instead of focusing on one big trip, we have several performance opportunities that we’ll experience together. Here is a quick summary of what you’ll see in the coming months, and outlined on the pages to follow:
Alumni Choir – October 4
This is the first-ever attempt to bring back people who have gone through the North Hills High School program, dating back to 1956. We have a nice group that has registered, and they will join with the NH Singers to create a festival choir that will put on a concert after just one 4-hour rehearsal together! Retired director Miss Valliant and I have put together a program of selections that were taken from suggestions by the alumni, and they represent the various decades of the NH Choir. Even if you’re not singing in the concert, you should attend and see why so many people still (even after as many as 60 years) have such a sense of pride in their North Hills music background.
Carmina Burana – twice in October!
The Symphonic Choir will be tackling 4 movements from the extremely well-known choral work by Carl Orff, Carmina Burana. We will perform these selections in 2 very different ways – first, with our very own Wind Symphony as guest performers on their fall band concert; and as part of the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale’s (PCC) festival the weekend following. The PCC hosts this event each year, and we’ll join with them as well as the McKeesport Area High School choir to sing those same movements with over 200 voices, accompanied by 2 pianos and percussion. The PCC’s director, Dr. Susan Medley, will come and work with us the week before the concert.
Women’s Choral Festival in November
A challenge for this early in the year with our new singers in the Women’s Choir, we’ll prepare 15 minutes of music to present at the ACDA-PA Women’s Choral Festival held at the church where I’m Minister of Music in Edgewood. Several other high school groups will perform, as well as Pitt, Duquesne, and probably a few others. It will be a wonderful learning experience to see and hear other groups.
River City Brass for the Holidays
We’ll bring all 140 of you together to sing some holiday favorites with the River City Brass Band at Carson Middle School. It’s been at least 5 years since NH collaborated with River City, and it’s a great chance to have a semi-professional instrumental group to work with. Music Director James Gourlay will come and work with us to prepare for the concert. I believe the Carson Middle School Chamber Singers are also joining us on that concert.
Chamber Choir Invitational
Three years ago, the North Hills Singers traveled to Pine-Richland and Fox Chapel Area High Schools to participate in their chamber choir invitationals, where their performances were judged by local college professors. We’re going to host an event just like it in April. Still waiting to hear back from other schools as to who will participate, but this will be a chance for the NH Singers to hear what other select/auditioned ensembles sound like at other schools.
Hershey – Music in the Parks
I hope that each one of you will be able to join us on the “trip” for this year – an overnight to Hershey. It would be great to have the full Symphonic & Women’s Choirs, and the NH Singers to compete as we did 2 years ago at Kings Island. Since Arts Alive is the night before, we’ll leave early Saturday morning, perform, change into park clothes, and spend the day at Hershey Park until close, stay overnight in a hotel, and travel home after breakfast. I didn’t want to cut your park time short, so this little weekend trip seemed like the perfect solution. And it shouldn’t be more than about $200/person…WAY cheaper than the $850 for Disney!
Lots of planning goes into making a full year like this. Please carefully write down all of the important dates at the end of this handbook and make every effort to attend scheduled practices and performances. I’m very excited about how these opportunities will help us to grow as musicians and as a group. Have a great year!