Chamber Singers Return to the Big Stage in the Windy City

For the past two years, one of the CHS choir teams, the Chamber Singers, have attended and won first place two times at the Festival of Gold, a national competition that was located at Washington D.C. and San Diego. In Washington D.C., they were able to receive a gold ranking despite their anxiety over performing at the Festival of Gold for the first time, and they continued to gain great results the following year in San Diego. The Festival of Gold was sponsored by an organization called the Heritage. In order to be in these festivals, there is an audition process that involves submitting an audition tape and record. At these festivals, groups earn rankings of gold, silver, or bronze, and they get invited to attend a particular festival based on their ranking. This year, CHS is going to the Festival of Gold once again from April 17-21 in Chicago because they received a gold ranking in the previous two festivals they attended. At CHS, there are 41 students in Chamber Singers this year who have been preparing for this festival since the beginning of the year.

“I’m tremendously excited to go to this competition. It has the best high school choirs in the country, so it’ll be tough competition. But no matter the outcome, choir trips are always such a bonding experience. It’s so fun to hang out with this group of ridiculously talented and just generally ridiculous people,” senior and president of Choir Kristen Klitgaard said.

At the Festival of Gold, Chamber Singers are to perform three international songs. The songs include an Indian folk tune called Barso Re, an Italian song called Sfogava con le Selle and an old spiritual hymn called Soon Ah Will Be Done. The Chamber Singers tirelessly practiced Soon Ah Will Be Done even before the school year began. The other two songs, Barso Re and Sfogava con le Selle were introduced in the beginning of first semester to the Chamber Singers. They were able to practice more in depth throughout the school year, as they worked on dynamics, emotions, and cut offs.

“When selecting music, I always look for a variety between the pieces. I also start with a theme so that no matter how diverse they are there is still a common thread that ties them all together,” choir director Dr. Joel Wilson said. “Barso Re is an upbeat international piece, Sfogava con le Selle is from the Renaissance and more traditional, and Soon-ah Will be Done is from our own American musical history. We’ve never performed these pieces before and each offers a new and valuable educational experience as we learn them.”

Chamber Singers will be staying in Chicago for five days during which they will be attending workshops, rehearsals, and performances prior to the competition. At the workshops, the students will get a chance to sing a couple of their festival songs to one of the judges that will be judging at the Festival of Gold before the actual festival performance. Then, the judges will give suggestions on what parts they should work on, so that they can help the group to improve their performance. They also get feedback from a few other collegiate directors beforehand, so that they can improve in specific areas. In these five days, the
Chamber Singers will go over their songs and also prepare with other schools for the closing performances, as they will be performing altogether on one stage. For now, they will continue practicing and performing, so that they will be ready for the day of the competition on April 20.

“From my perspective, CHS Choir has been so great because of our director, Dr. Wilson. He truly is the best at what he does and his hard work and dedication is what makes the choir amazing. We couldn’t do what we do without him,” senior and vice president of Choir Camryn Texeira said. “As a choir, it is crucial that we practice our music at home and not just in the choir room. I believe we take our responsibilities seriously.”

With this amount of dedication and effort, the Chamber Singers are sure to have a great performance and garner a fine result at the Festival of Gold this year.