Video: Combined choral and orchestra concert includes community chorus

As they planned the program for this spring's concert, music directors Erik Welchans and Robert Shaubach had an idea. Instead of the typical segmented concert format with perhaps a single combined piece, they planned to do four combined orchestral and choral pieces.

And then they had another idea. For two of the pieces, they would invite L-S alumni, faculty, and community members to join the choir to help bolster the sound. Over 40 singers took advantage of the offer; some were parents and grandparents of current students, some were teachers, and some were simply interested members of the community.

The full group sang two selections: "Lamentations of Jeremiah" by Z. Randall Stroope and "The Awakening" by Joseph Martin.
"Lamentations of Jeremiah"

Community members and students alike agreed that this unique opportunity was a great experience for all involved.

"I think it was an excellent opportunity to share the love of music with numerous singers from the community," says Steve Greenwood, a junior who sings with the chorus and Madrigals and plays trumpet in the orchestra. His grandfather sang with with the community group. "It was a really meaningful experience to me. The community choir added to the strength of the choir, and the community singers' involvement epitomized the phrase, 'Let music never die in me.'"

Former L-S High School assistant principal and longtime middle school band director Bill Grager also joined the choir. He called the event a "truly rewarding experience to be back on the L-S stage performing quality music with such proficient ensembles."

Mrs. Claudia Ruoff, the K-12 Literacy Coach and an English teacher at the high school, sang, and she praised the directors for providing such a rewarding experience for all involved.

"I believe that music is one of the most powerful tools that we have to build community.  Because Mr. Welchans and Mr. Shaubach were willing to take a creative risk and try something new, they gave people from the age of 15- 75 to come together an collaborate on a project," she says. "It is easy to dismiss ideas and not follow through on risky propositions, but when we do we can connect with each other in new ways.  It felt great to be in rehearsal and on stage with students who hours earlier were debating the merits of literature and competing in a vocabulary competition in my classroom.  I got to see those same students playing piano and trumpet and violin, and former students and colleagues singing together, and I was able to learn more about who they are and what they love.  I would love to do it again. "
"The Awakening"

To echo Greenwood with the words of the riveting conclusion to "The Awakening", let music live!

--Benjamin Pontz, LSNews.org Editor-In-Chief; Video courtesy of Mrs. Jill Emmert

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