Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tour Reflections from Choristers and Staff

This is the first performance tour that the Young People’s Chorus of Erie has been on and I am so happy I was here to be a part of it. Every performance continued to get better and better which represents the true growth of this organization. We have combined hard work with fun to make an even better sound. I have seen so many things across Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. that I might have not had the opportunity to see without YPC Erie. I have made a lifetime of friends and there is nothing that could compare to the experiences YPC has to offer.

-Emilie Toperzer, 14

On the trip back to Erie I had a chance to reflect on all of my experiences with YPC Erie. This was a bittersweet moment. On one hand, I was extremely sad that this was the last time that I would be a YPC Erie chorister. I’ve graduated and have to move on. I sang my last YPC Erie concert and spent the last night with some of my best friends. On the other hand I know that this isn’t goodbye. We found out that the three audition tapes that we recorded in May for the World Choir Games had been reviewed, and that Concert Chorus, Young Men’s Chorus, and Chorale were all accepted! I am able to come back next year and participate in the choir games. My YPC Erie life will never fade though. I love Dr. Bishop and the choir members way too much to just forget about it. As I reflect on how far this organization has come, I’m overwhelmed with emotion. I am so proud that I have helped it become what it is today. I have learned so much from this whole experience, such as how to be expressive, how be a mature adult and how to work with others in a professional manner. This choir has bonded as friends and as a family. We have learned important life lessons through hard work. Most importantly we have learned how to turn hard work into fun. I will never forget this organization, and how it has helped me grow and find my love for music.

Meredith Supinski, 18

On the bus ride home from tour, I sat reflecting on the amazing experience that I had just shared with the YPC staff and the other choristers. This tour has helped me to overcome an obstacle that in one way or another we have been struggling with since day one, expression. Without expression the music has no meaning; it is simply just notes and rhythms, but when you add expression through your body and face it turns the music into a story people can connect with. Connecting emotionally with the audience is not the only way that the choir has grown; we have also grown in terms of tone production, intonation and much more. Just because the tour is over does not mean that our hard stops. YPC Erie choristers will go into a theoretic “break” in July. I am sure, however, that Dr. B and the other staff never truly stops working for us. They help make these amazing opportunities possible.

We now will be working toward a new goal. We found out that all three choruses: Concert Chorus, Young Men’s Chorus, and Chorale, have been accepted to the 2012 World Choir Games. Everyone has their own ideas of what this chorus is and why we operate the way we do, but, when it comes down to it, it is really just about making beautiful music together. Whether we are on the steps of the Capitol, at Carnegie Hall, or on the stage at the World Choir Games, all that really matters is the music. This tour has helped me to realize that this is truly all that matters.

Hannah Becker, 16

This tour was amazing. We started out very strong and continued to improve at each performance. We really grew during this trip both musically and vocally. At State College we improved greatly because there were mirrors in the practice room. The mirrors helped us realize how unexpressive we were and we were able to fix that. That night we gave an amazing performance. The capitol was fun and the reverberations in the building were outstanding. One of our most emotional performances we had was at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The way our songs sounded and the impact we had has amazing. Seeing sick children in the audience and knowing that our concert would be broadcasted to all the rooms in the hospital made most of us cry, including myself. Our tour is done and all our concerts were amazing. This experience was incredible. We touched so many hearts and left smiles on many people’s faces. The best part of tour was finding out that the Concert Chorus, Young Men’s Chorus, and Chorale made it to the World Choir Games. Hopefully that experience will be as great as this, if not greater.

Linnae Keys, 14

I had many mixed feelings about the ride home. I was so excited to see my friends and family again, but I didn’t want to part with my YPC Erie friends. I may not see some of them for a long time when YPC Erie starts up again in August. This tour was amazing overall. We’ve all bonded so well, and not many of us want to go home yet. In conclusion of this tour I believe we’ve all learned a valuable lesson. This chorus is not about winning competitions or being the best, it’s all about the music and how well all of us connect and care about each other. YPC Erie is one big family.

Kayla McGrath, 14

The YPC Erie staff have been so impressed with the way our choristers have represented the organization this week on tour as we crossed the state of PA and D.C.! We watched them grow both in musical maturity and as young people. The choristers reflected on each performance, which made every concert better and better. They carried themselves in a professional manner, and have truly grown as young artists. Audiences young and old were so impressed with the caliber of music making our choristers displayed. We could not have asked for a more successful tour, both in terms of the impact we have made throughout the state as well as the impact we have made on each other. We are so proud to be a part of something so monumental! Thank you to all choristers, staff, chaperones, and parents for supporting YPC Erie in this week-long endeavor!

Sarah Kahl, Chief of Staff

After only one week, I feel that I have been quickly adopted into what is the YPC Erie family! Everyone involved with organization has so much to be proud of! The choristers gave eight amazing performances this week and have grown immensely as musicians and young adults. All week, we have had discussions and reflections after each concert that helped the choristers continue along an incline each day! I heard so many wonderful comments from members in the audience at all concerts who commented on the incredible musicianship of all three ensembles. Thank you so much to everyone on this trip for an incredible experience, and for making me feel so welcome!

Caitlin Henning, Assistant Conductor and Director of Education

There is no better way to get to know a group of people than by taking a week long tour with them. While we were all a close family prior to our performance tour, after a week of traveling on a bus, staying in hotels, and performing at a different venue each day, we have all become an even closer-knit family. Watching our choristers valiantly put on performance after performance despite being travel weary and putting every ounce of themselves into each performance and rehearsal was a touching experience to witness. Each participant, staff, choristers and chaperone alike worked together to make sure that each stop was special not only for our choristers but for the audiences that came out to listen. As we are travelled back to Erie it was easy to see that not a single person on the bus was the same person that boarded it a week ago. Each person has grown and reached a new level in their life.

Tiffany Gilger, Production Manager

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