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  • by Judy Coder

Choral Tidal Wave

Some experiences are hard to describe, and just as hard to record. Sometimes you really need to be there.

Earlier this month, I was privileged to lead a group of choral singers in a special concert. For the first time ever, the International Western Music Association (IWMA) showcased a choral group, called the Corral Chorale. We had sung some choral arrangements in recent years, but this was the largest group of voices, and it was our first full showcase.

I was in charge of the personnel, rehearsals, etc. Some of the singers are solo performers, while others perform in duos and trios. They all have an understanding of choral blend, but for many, it has been quite some time since they’ve had the opportunity to sing in this setting. I was pleased so many showed an interest, and took the time to create something special.

The singers received their scores 10 weeks prior to the convention. Some prepared their parts from their laptops, in the midst of their own fall performance tours. All came to that first rehearsal prepared and focused.

We didn’t have a lot of rehearsal time, but we were grateful for a space to rehearse, and for the pleasure of joining our voices in such a big way.

Seven songs were featured in the showcase, written/arranged specifically for this purpose. I supplied four, and three were supplied by my friend Jeanne Cahill. We each conducted the songs we’d scored. One song featured the men in the group, while one was scored exclusively for women’s voices. One featured a chorus of children’s voices. One song featured a violin trio; this performance was a world premiere – the opening chorus for the full-length folk opera I’m currently writing.

I’m extremely proud of our first full showcase performance. The audience was inspired. We inspired each other. There’s nothing that can compare to that feeling I get when a wall of choral sound rises up like an ocean at high tide and washes over the room. Recordings don’t ever capture that feeling, but for those of us fortunate enough to be there, it’s a feeling we’ll never forget.

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