Riggs Choir to perform in Carnegie Hall

The 25 members of the T.J. Riggs Chamber Choir, under the direction of Rodd Bauch, have begun their trek to New York City to perform in Carnegie Hall. (Photo by Todd Thompson Photography)

The T.F. Riggs Chamber Choir is travelling to New York City to sing as part of a mass choir in a concert at Carnegie Hall.

The organization called Distinguished Concerts International New York puts this concert together. According to Chamber Choir director Rodd Bauch, the organization first made contact with the Pierre choir.

“Two years ago, a DCINY representative (Jeff Binner, who is responsible for seeking out singers for these New York events) came across a video on Youtube of our group performing a concert in the Capitol rotunda,” Rauch said. “Upon seeing the performance, he thought we would be a great group to be a part of a choir for their concert series. Originally, we were invited to sing for a concert in April of 2018, but we could not make the date work. The representative really wanted us to be a part of a performance, so when concerts for this current season were announced, he called on us again.” What Binner originally saw was the ‘Angels In The Architecture’ concert which the Riggs Chamber Choir performs in the Capitol every year.

“There are 12 choirs/groups from around the world, including us, that will comprise the mass choir in which we will sing. We will be singing a 12-movement masterwork titled ‘Calling All Dawns’ by composer/conductor Christopher Tin. Tin will be the director for the performance. The masterwork is 12 movements in 12 different languages, none of which are English. The performance will be accompanied by a full orchestra and will include professional soloists as well. ‘Calling All Dawns’ is one half of the full concert. The other half of the concert features a different choir singing a different work,” Rauch said.

According to Cindy Erwin, the DCINY puts on six to seven events like this every year. Erwin added that the orchestra-accompanied 12-movement musical piece is further divided into three sections — day, night, and dawn — that take the listener from dusk to dawn. The 12 songs are all in the foreign languages of (in order) Swahili, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, French, Latin, Irish, Polish, Hebrew, Farsi, Sanskrit, and Maori.

“This trip and performance is an amazing opportunity for the students and myself. We are honored that were thought of as being worthy of inclusion in such an event. The fact that we were personally sought out adds to the appreciation that we feel for such an opportunity,” Rauch said..

The group left Wednesday, June 6, at 10 p.m. for this invitation-only event set for June 9. “Upon arriving, will have rehearsals for two days prior to the performance. We will also be doing some sightseeing, and will take in a Broadway show,” Erwin said.

The T.F. Riggs Chamber Choir is all extracurricular, and by audition only.

The choir group has done fundraising in the last year. But, in order to make this trip possible, the students and their families have largely put up the money themselves. According to Erwin, “The cost of the trip per student is approximately $2,000. About $800 of that is for the event itself, and about $1,200 (give or take) is for travel, accommodations, and entertainment. We also need to pay for a bus to get us to Minneapolis, which will run about $5,000. All of the participants have been working all year to raise their own funds for this trip.”

Members of the group include first sopranos senior Tess Erwin, junior Meg Erwin, and senior Hannah Hanson. Second sopranos junior Melinda Clements, junior Sarah Hancock, freshman Bayle Hanna, and sophomore Eryn Louis. First altos junior Zoe Blumer, and senior Anya Jones. Second altos sophomore Jordan Morley, junior Sydney Morley, senior Kayla Peplinski, and junior Morgan Reiser. First tenors sophomore Nathan Haberling, junior Eli Houdyshell, and junior Will Kessler. Second tenors freshman Connor Bruce, sophomore Levi McKinley, and freshman Jackson Overweg. First basses freshman Peyton Parker, junior Max Sevier, and Michael VanDeWiele. Second basses sophomore Blake Berger, sophomore Ruben Bowen, and freshman Lincoln Mefferd.

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