- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Chopticon High School Peace Pipers choral ensemble in April will sing at the famed Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Teacher Sarah Vence said Chopticon’s choir will represent Maryland at the American Music Performance nationals competition for choirs. “It’s really exciting,” said Vence, who has led Chopticon’s choirs for the last six years.
The Choirs of America, which organizes national choir festivals, checked into the choir’s performances in past competitions, Vence said, and invited the Peace Pipers to represent the state’s high schools. It is a good opportunity to show that “music can transcend the classroom,” she said.
The Peace Pipers is made up of 20 students from 10th through 12th grade — 10 girls and 10 boys.
“We’ll be singing with conductor Anton Armstrong,” who is in charge of the St. Olaf Choir at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, Vence said. “He is fantastic. He is world-renowned.”
The choir will also get a chance for an adjudicated performance on the first day of the program as a chance to showcase themselves.
“We’ll bring that music” after picking what the choir wants to perform, she said.
The three-day event will conclude with a massed choir rehearsal and “prism concert” at the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall for all participating choirs.
The Peace Pipers are now focused on raising about $15,000 to help pay for their trip, including train tickets, meals, hotels costs and a fee to perform. Along with their usual annual fundraising events, such as the holiday madrigals performed last month, the group is planning a Valentine’s cabaret performance on Feb. 15 at the school.
“It will be an evening of love songs and desserts,” Vence said.
“It’s a great opportunity for us,” said Rachel Escolopio, one of the choir’s section leaders. The Chopticon senior said she wants to become a music teacher after going to college.
Escolopio is also a member of Chopticon’s marching band, which has had several high-profile performances in recent years, including a trip last month to perform in Hawaii for an annual Pearl Harbor commemoration and a performance in Atlanta’s Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2008.
The Peace Pipers will now have a chance to showcase the musical talents of the school, Escolopio said.
“I think we deserve it. We are awesome,” said Chopticon senior and Peace Pipers section leader Jenna Walton, who is in her second year of the Peace Pipers.
In addition to the performance at Carnegie Hall, the Chopticon chorus will participate in workshops as well as an “acoustic scavenger hunt,” where the students will have to find and sing in certain landmarks in the city, like Times Square or Central Park. That will give them a chance to learn about some of New York City’s landmarks and try out their vocalizations in different settings, Vence said
“They are really looking forward to that,” she said.