Members of Voices in the Laurel Children’s Choir have just returned from the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans. The festival, in its 14th year, was hosted by the New Orleans Children’s Choir and director, Cheryl Dupont. Bob Chilcott, famed British composer and choral conductor, directed the 200- voice mass choir which consisted of Voices in the Laurel and nine other choirs from across the United States. The singers rehearsed two to three hours for four days ending with a gala concert at the historical St. Louis Cathedral. For the concert, each choir performed individually, followed by a stunning performance by the mass choir.
Mary Ann Cooper, accompanist for Voices in the Laurel and organist at First Baptist Church in Waynesville, was present when the Oberlin Choristers from Ohio performed her arrangement of “Poor Wayfaring Stranger” as part of the individual choir exchange.
Bob Chilcott, guest clinician for the Crescent City Choral Festival, is known as a “contemporary hero of British choral music.” A native of Plymouth, England, he sang as a choir boy at Kings College Cambridge, then joined the internationally acclaimed professional choir, the Kings Singers. He served as conductor of the chorus of the Royal College of Music and is presently the director of the BBC Singers. Mr. Chilcott is in demand as composer and choral conductor. As part of the Crescent City Choral Festival, Voices in the Laurel sang the world premiere of his choral setting of “Dancing Day,” as well as several of his other compositions. www. bobchilcott.com.
In addition to singing great music with outstanding conductors, Voices in the Laurel enjoyed touring the city of New Orleans, visiting the Katrina and MardiGras exhibits at the Louisiana State Museum, the Audubon Aquarium, shopping in the French Quarter, hearing live jazz bands, dancing to Cajun music, and eating beignets at Café DuMonde! One of the favorite activities was attending a demonstration at the New Orleans School of Cooking, then eating the results. “Festivals like this are a wonderful blending of singing great music and experiencing other parts of the local culture,” recounted Martha Brown, Artistic Director of Voices in the Laurel.
Voices in the Laurel staff is pleased to announce that the choir has recently received a personal invitation by festival conductor Ruth Dwyer, Music Education Director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York at the end of the upcoming season.
In the meantime, Voices in the Laurel is holding its fourth annual Summer Voice Music Camp, which will be held July 29 – August 2, at First Baptist Church in Waynesville. The camp is open to any interested musicians who are entering 1st through 9th grades. To register for camp or request an audition for the upcoming season, visit www.voiceinthelaurel.org or call (828) 734-8413.