Student choir preps for celebration
Memorial High School Chorale will celebrate the 100th anniversary of composer Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a performance on January 11.
Memorial High School Chorale will celebrate the 100th anniversary of composer Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a performance of Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms,” sung in Hebrew, at the group’s 35th annual Masterworks Concert at 7:00 p.m., Jan. 11, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 501 S. Cincinnati Ave.
The occasion is being celebrated all year with performances by music ensembles all over the world; however, MHS Vocal Director Kevin Pearson says Memorial Chorale is the only Oklahoma group participating.
MHS has had a chorale since the early 1960s. Each year, the chorale — comprised of 65 students who rehearse during the school day — performs two concerts, including the Masterworks concert and a full-scale musical.
Pearson says state budget cuts have affected Memorial music programs. “While our students are constantly engaged in fundraising, (it) has become increasingly difficult,” he says. “Even when we slim down our budget, it costs approximately $20,000 to run the vocal music department here.” Fortunately, the Crowne Plaza Southern Hills will underwrite the Jan. 11 concert, allowing the chorale to continue its longstanding tradition.
“A masterwork is a large-scale work, typically from the Western classical tradition and with multiple movements or sections,” Pearson says. “We hire various members of the Tulsa symphonic community to accompany the choir and perform in an acoustically resonant space in order to maximize the value of the experience for the students.
“The importance of this activity cannot be overstated. We set the bar very high. Often the students think they cannot reach it, but they excel through hard work and dedication, coming together to truly move a mountain one pebble at a time.”