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Last night was Christmas, all over again. We got tickets from our son for a concert at ArtsRiot in Burlington. It was a lovely evening. We had dinner with some of our favorite young adults, walked over to the concert venue on Pine Street and settled in for a nice musical evening. We were not disappointed. The entire concert was an acoustic event. The opening act was a Burlington singer/songwriter named Henry Jamison. He was wonderful. If you have not heard of him or his music, take a listen here. If you have the opportunity to see him near you, I would recommend it highly.
The main act was a Maine singer/songwriter called Lady Lamb. Another acoustic performance. While we were not all that familiar with her music beforehand, by the size of the crowd and the sold out show, Burlington was definitely familiar with her. A great performance. It was a very nice night of lots of great music, evidence that a gift of experiences trumps a gift of things.
It was also evidence of the small world we live in. Another couple asked to share our large half moon booth, to which we gladly agreed. Turns out, she was a Mill River graduate who was very familiar with our little corner of Vermont. The four of us had a great conversation waiting on the concert to start. It was a lovely evening on many fronts.
This week, our youngest son is out in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is performing in the National High School Honors Choir. To say that I am proud of Tim and his accomplishment is an understatement. Right now, I am wishing that I were there to hear the concert and marvel at the achievement. That was just not in the cards. He has had, best as I can tell from messages and quick phone calls, an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I absolutely CANNOT wait until he comes home so I can hear all about it in person.
He was selected from approximately 4,000 high school choral students to be a part of the 300 person national high school honors choir for the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA). The group is performing this afternoon as a group and then will perform this evening in a mass choir with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He is one of three students from his high school and one of the five from the state of Vermont chosen following the auditioning process. It is quite an honor. We are very proud of him.
We at our high school are blessed to have an amazing, dedicated choral teacher who goes above and beyond with our children. She sees their potential and helps them achieve things that they would never have even attempted without her guidance. We are grateful for all her time and effort, particularly since this week, she spent her birthday away from her own children to be with ours.
Here is the article that appeared in the local newspaper about the students and their experience.
From the Herald – NORTH CLARENDON — When the lights go up, the silence of anticipation will be broken by the thundering sound of 300 voices filling the air with song.
And three of those 300 voices will belong to Mill River Union High School seniors.
The students — Tim Heffernan, Katherine Bullock and Christian Brand — make up a tiny fraction of the nearly 4,000 students who auditioned for the 2015 National American Choral Directors’ Association Honor Choirs in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This weekend, the trio will spend several days rehearsing with the most talented vocal artists in the nation, and finish off the weekend with three performances. Roughly 6,000 people will be in attendance at those performances.
“It’s amazing and completely overwhelming to think of that many people listening to us sing,” said Brand.
Kristin Cimonetti, vocal teacher at the school, said this event is the highest honor of its kind that a high school student can achieve.
“It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said. “It’s very competitive and there is no other choral event of this caliber in the country.”
Each student who auditioned had to use the same piece of music and record it electronically.
Each recording was then put under the audio microscope by a panel of judges who made decisions of elimination, whittling the 4,000 audition recordings down to a mere 300.
The blip of music was only about 40 seconds long, but the students rerecorded for hours, trying to get the perfect clip.
“We didn’t even listen to the final result,” said Bullock. “It’s too nerve-wracking, and you’ll never be completely satisfied with how you sound.”
Cimonetti was the one who listened with great detail to each of their recordings and ultimately made the final decision on which one to send to the judges.
“I listened for little glitches, like a breath that lasted slightly longer than it should,” she said. “But in the end, it all worked out.”
The recordings were sent in November, but the students didn’t learn the results until a couple of months later.
“It was like waiting to hear from college applications, but worse,” said Heffernan, laughing.
Each said that when they did get their results back, the feeling was unreal.
“I saw the email on my phone and I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know if I trusted such good news,” said Brand, who read the email while walking down the street. The shock of it all caused him to abruptly stop walking, causing what he called a backup of foot traffic behind him.
“I was certain it was a trick,” he said.
But as the initial shock wore off, the students realized they had some serious work ahead of them.
They were each mailed a series of songs they needed to learn for the performances.
And they needed to learn them by heart.
Just because they had gotten into the choir didn’t mean they were out of the hot seat.
At the first rehearsal in Salt Lake, judges will walk through the rows of students, listening intently as they sing, eliminating anyone who doesn’t sound up to par.
“It may seem harsh, but it ensures quality performance,” Cimonetti said. “It holds everyone accountable.”
But each of the Mill River students have been dedicated to practicing in preparation for the event.
“We’ll absolutely be practicing on the plane ride, too,” said Bullock. “I actually feel bad for the people sitting next to us. We’ll be singing the whole time.”
While the three students said they feel a sense of pride, they all know they could not haven accomplished any of this without the help of Cimonetti.
But Cimonetti modestly shook off the compliment, saying the students were the ones bursting with talent.
“I really do think we will all be changed after this performance,” said Heffernan.
My boys amaze me. I am constantly in awe of how much they do and how very capable and talented they are at what they do. While we certainly are supportive, I honestly cannot take the credit for exactly how much and how well they manage to do things. For example, this past weekend, Tim was a participant in the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Conference. He, and four other Mill River students, who auditioned last year were selected to be part of the honors choirs. Tim had the privilege of performing in the Chinese Honors Choir. He learned and memorized about 8 songs in Chinese which he performed with 99 other students from all along the Eastern United States. He and his classmates, who were 4 of the 9 Vermont students that qualified for this distinct honor, performed in the Symphony Hall in Baltimore, Maryland with nationally recognized choral conductors.
We drove down to Baltimore this weekend meet Tim and see the concert. It was an amazing experience and still would have been an incredible event even if my own flesh and blood wasn’t one of the students performing. The entire experience was wonderful. My boys have the ability to constantly amaze me and make me incredibly proud. Enjoy the pictures here and share my pride and the pride of my fellow parents in how wonderful these students were and what an incredible experience they had.
The conductor of the Chinese Honors Choir – she was wonderful and explained the words to the songs that the students performed in Chinese.
The entire Chinese Honors Choir performing at Symphony Hall in Baltimore.
There’s my guy…..
As we prepare to head up to Winooski to listen to Tim perform with his classmates in the All State Chorus, on this beautiful spring Friday afternoon, I thought I would share some of the photos from Bistro.
It has been a wonderful, musical year and I’m very, very proud of my vocalist. In the words of his brother — he has the voice of an angel.
The entire group of performers taking a photo opportunity during rehearsal on Thursday afternoon.
Last night I got to do something that I’ve missed out on for the past three years. Every year when the Celebration of the Arts comes around, Tim and I are on a plane, or on our way to a plane or getting off a plane for Odyssey. He misses his “final exam” concert and I miss the delight of watching him sing. This year, due to the lack of Odyssey in our lives, Tim got to perform and I got to watch. It was a wonderful night of vocal music following a wonderful night of instrumental music. Both nights included an entire library full of visual arts from the various art classes and I got to see some of the really great pictures that Tyler took during his digital photography class on display.
Here are some of the pictures from last night. It was a very emotional evening for them, since it will be the last time this group of students performs together, particularly for Tim’s chambers group which will be losing the majority of its members to graduation. Lots of singing, lots of wonderful music and lots of tears.
This is a picture of the entire group of vocal students who comprise the junior and senior chorus at the school. They performed a mass choral piece to open the concert which was fabulous.
Our choral instructor with the graduating seniors during the last performance of the evening – a song performed by the underclass vocal students as a send-off to their graduating members.
We spent two days in Montreal– just us chickens. It has been a long time since we have gone anywhere like that just the five of us –and it was fun. Not that having other people or kids along isn’t also fun but sometimes it is nice to have to spend time with each other. Especially when cell phone usage was limited due to us being out of the country so outside distraction was minimal. It was a combination birthday/concert trip. The boys wanted to see Deadmau5 in concert and the show in Montreal was an all ages show. The date was just after my birthday and since none of us had ever been to the city of Montreal, it seemed like a fun idea.
The concert was Thursday night and was good – definitely got your monies’ worth with a five hour show. We walked in there a little after 7. Tim and I left a little after 11 — Tom and the other boys didn’t get back until 1ish. We wandered around downtown Montreal the next day via metro since none of us were too foot happy after standing for 5+ hours the night before (or at least our feet weren’t) – guess who lost their Metro day pass? — guess who also got everyone lost trying to find the Apple Store? — guess who thought she was stuck on the roof of the hotel with Tim when the door wouldn’t open again? Okay, things weren’t that bad and we did have fun- visited the Biodome (and they all actually smiled for me)
Tonight was the Music Showcase at Tim’s school. It is a pleasure to go to this concert and hear the wonderful talent that comprises the middle school and high school. Always entertaining (and I’m not saying that because my own child is involved) it is great night to sit and listen to some wonderful singing and music. Congratulations to everyone that participated, your talent was evident this evening.
Last night was the Fall Music Showcase at Mill River, the boys’ school. There were performances from the jazz ensembles, the chorus, the chamber singers, the men and women’s choruses and the middle school and senior bands. A variety of music which was (I am pleased to say) actually enjoyable to the ear and entertaining.
Here’s our little singer all dressed up.