WVC High School Festival
Last Saturday, October 11, Women’s Voices Chorus members gathered for our annual Fall Retreat. Only this year, instead of meeting for a closed session of WVC bonding and rehearsing, we were also joined by students from several area high schools for a day full of fellowship and singing that culminated in a combined concert!
The first ever Women’s Voices Chorus High School Festival got off to an early start with warm-ups and a run-through of several pieces of music written for and/or by women. The auditorium of Orange High School rang with the voices of over 150 women singing in beautiful harmony! At a rehearsal break, several members of WVC came on stage to speak to the audience about their experiences with singing after high school and how music has impacted their lives, and then the floor was opened up for questions. We were blown away by the insightful and profound questions the young ladies asked, many of which addressed the ability of music to forge emotional connections and the balance musical activity can bring to lives otherwise dominated by work and family.
After a delicious lunch break provided by WVC, we regrouped to rehearse our combined pieces again. At four o’clock, WVC opened the concert with a short set before the students joined us to sing five songs, bringing the house down with a powerful performance of Gwyneth Walker’s “Never Sit Down,” an anthem celebrating leaders of the women’s suffrage movement.
It was a long day full of hard work, but it was also full of laughter and fun. The goal of the festival was to mentor these bright young women and show them how they can continue performing long after they’ve graduated from high school. We hope the students enjoyed getting to know us as much as we enjoyed getting to know them, and that they will keep singing no matter where life takes them!
The day wouldn’t have been a success without the help of the directors of the schools involved, and we’d like to thank them for joining us: Sydney Sides, Sean Grier, and Amy Davis of the Durham School of the Arts; our own Rachel Spencer of Durham’s Northern High School; Brad Bensen of Cary’s Panther Creek High School; and especially Jane Williams of Hillsborough’s Orange High School, our gracious host!
We also need to thank some of our own for the roles they played in putting the festival together. Meg Berreth deserves thanks for organizing all the lunch details – no small feat when you’re feeding over 150! Rachel Spencer came up with the idea of the festival, so she deserves major kudos as well! And last but certainly not least, a big thank you goes to Laura Delauney, who began organizing the festival in spring 2014, networking with area choral directors to pull everything together!