The 25 members of the T.F. Riggs Chamber Choir, under the direction of Rodd Bauch, have returned from performing in Carnegie Hall. They traveled to New York City to sing as part of a mass choir in a concert at Carnegie Hall.
The group left June 6 for this invitation-only event set for June 9. That gave the vocalists two days of total-group rehearsals prior to the performance, and some sightseeing. The choir group had done fundraising, though the trip’s costs are still being dealt with.
“We are back from our trip to New York. It was a fantastic time,” said T.F. Riggs Chamber Choir director Rodd Bauch. The Pierre group saw the statue of Liberty and other iconic sites. “We saw the (Broadway) show “Dear Evan Hanse,” which the students enjoyed particularly because many of them had sung a song from the show in our spring concert. We went several places in New York on our own; several students ventured to Times Square, Broadway Avenue, and Central Park.
“Lastly, the concert at Carnegie Hall was as amazing as everyone anticipated it would be. The group we were a part of was 250-260 singers including us and groups from St. Louis Park Minnesota, Trinidad and Tobego, Germany, Switzerland, France, and Hawaii. We were one of two high school groups in the choir. Other choirs were community choirs, one being a Senior Citizens choir,” Bauch said.
“Composer/conductor Christopher Tin was an absolute joy for our students. He admitted to them that choir and being a singer was his third main thing, behind being a composer and primarily an orchestral conductor. This admission put the students at ease with the music, as he was very easy going concerning the material.”
“The piece “Calling All Dawns” was never meant to be performed live. It was originally a studio work. However, it has since been performed all over the world since 2009, and while it has been performed in Carnegie Hall before, this was the first time it was performed there under the direction of Christopher Tin himself,” Bauch said.
Bauch said that the piece featured a number of soloists, many of whom were very fluent in the languages in which they were singing, and many of them were authentic to the culture being represented. For instance, the final movement “Kia Hora” is from the Maori culture in the New Zealand area. It featured a Maori chant that was performed by two men from Wellington, New Zealand, who performed it in full, authentic dress. “Very cool for the students to witness firsthand,” Bauch said.
The students got autographs from Tin, and the group had a photo taken with him.
“As a director, I was immensely proud of my students. This was a difficult work to put together, largely because of languages. As the days and rehearsals went on, I saw my students become more and more comfortable with the piece,” Bauch said. “In performance, I got chills not only from the sound of the whole group and full orchestra, but from seeing the Riggs students sing with such expression. I could tell they were excited and proud to be a part of this, and to see them with their heads up, mouths open, and putting everything they could into their performance was very rewarding! A very proud moment,” Bausch said.
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.