Yesterday, YPC Erie performed at Penn State’s University Park campus in State College. We arrived a little after noon for a rehearsal in the choir room in Music Building I. For the first time, we experienced mirrored walls in a rehearsal. Since our departure, Dr. Bishop has been working with the choristers on self-expression and ways to connect with the audience. Facial expressions come naturally to some, but to others it has been a challenge. The mirrored walls offered a “first glance” (yes, pun intended) into the chorister’s own expressions. They were able to adjust and experiment with different emotions to see what worked, what looked over-the-top, and what didn’t work so well. This unexpected perk to our rehearsal room yesterday was a pleasant surprise that made us well prepared for another solid performance in State College.
At the rehearsal we had two special guests make an appearance. Tony Leach, the 2009-10 “Penn State Laureate” and conductor of Penn State’s Essence of Joy ensemble, was our first visitor. Our second special guest was one of Penn State’s senior executives, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Blannie Bowen. Dr. Bowen gave some words of encouragement to our choristers and congratulated them on a great rehearsal. I think YPC Erie made a couple new fans and supporters of our efforts. At the concert, the audience included Penn State music faculty members, administrators and even Dr. Guy Jansen, founder of the New Zealand National Youth Choir!
This morning’s performance was rare and exciting. We arrived at our state capitol around 9:30am and had a quick rehearsal where we were welcomed by Representative John Hornaman (he had a committee meeting and couldn’t attend our performance.) Following the rehearsal we got a guided tour of the capitol. The beauty, magnificence and history of the state capitol captivated the choristers’ attention and they remained in awe throughout the entire tour.
Following the tour YPC Erie gave a performance few will forget. The concert was at the Main Rotunda of the Capitol. We were greeted by our two State Senators, Jane Earll and Mary Jo White, and three of our State Representatives, Patrick Harkins, Florindo Fabrizio, and Curt Sonney. In addition to our delegation being present, we performed for a lively audience of other legislators, press and capitol staff. The choristers masterfully demonstrated the value of the arts and arts education to a crowd of decision makers for the state of Pennsylvania: mission accomplished!
As you may recall, U.S. House Representative Mike Kelly charged the choristers to act as ambassadors of the Erie region and it is safe to say our chorus is accomplishing just that. Bring on day 4!