Hamburg Area High School hosted the Region V State Chorus Festival March 22 and 23 to a packed auditorium. Having first practiced together less than 48 hours prior to the first performance, the 210 member choir of students from 75 school districts brought the crowd to a standing ovation at the end of the night.
Under guest conductor Dr. William Cutter, the choir showcased its talents with a program made to impress. Dr. Cutter is Director of Choral Programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a long time friend of host director Scott J. Piergrossi.
“Thanks to the teachers for sharing your wacky teenages with me for the last few days,” said Dr. Cutter prior to the last piece of the evening.
Before the first note of the evening was sung, the audience loudly clapped as the singers entered the auditorium and took their places on the stage. Piergrossi asked the music teachers in the audience to stand and thanked them along with all the music teachers for the work they do with their students and all those who made the festival possible.
The call and answer piece, My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord, received one of the loudest applauses of the night and was one the students enjoyed singing and swaying along with. Selections from Carmina Burana highlighted the skills of the choir and was a piece the audience could easily recognize as parts have been used in commercials, movies, and popular music.
Soloists were Alanna Piper of Central Dauphin East, Rebecca Stahl of Parkland, Lyle deVitry of Hempfield, and Benjamin Magrowski of Governor Mifflin. Along with the soloists, the percussion ensemble and accompanists, Sarah Broadwell of Hempfield and Cody Knight of Hamburg, received a long applause for their parts in the theatrical piece that was felt throughout the auditorium.
A Jubilant Song featured soloist Ariel Diehl of Lampeter-Strasburg and another grand performance from Knight who both received loud applause during their bow at the end of the song.
The final song was Sunday from the musical Sunday in the Park with George which is about the struggle of an artist. Prior to the start of the piece, most of the choir took their seats with only a few standing. Those standing each spoke one word and the rest of the choir then stood as the song began. Soloists were James Damore of Exeter Township and Kate Miksits of Lehigh Valley Performing Arts.
“These are people aspiring to be creative people in life. Andy they are now as well,” said Dr. Cutter on how appropriate it was to end the concert with the piece.
Other songs in the program were Fanfare For A Festival, Credo from Mass in C minor K427, and Ubi Caritas. Each piece received louder applause and the crowd was quick to provide a standing ovation for the talented young singers after the final note.
Dr. Elizabeth Lambi, Diredctor of Curriculum and Instruction of Hamburg, began the program with the greeting. Friday evening response was given by Diane Maclay the president of District 7 PMEA and Saturday afternoon response by Matthew Wehr the president of District 10 PMEA.
To be selected, students auditioned for the PMEA District 10 Choral Festival, held at Berks Catholic High School this year, and had to re-audition on the same music for the Region Chorus.
“When you see what these students can do musically in three days you are amazed. The sound and quality of this chorus is top notch,” said Piergrossi. He believes that a performance of this level only helps support the arts in Pennsylvania and is great for the Hamburg community as well.
The performance was high caliber and was truly a treat for the Hamburg area to have a chance to see.