The Lawrence Children's Choir makes an impression at a choral directors' convention in Chicago.
Janeal Krehbiel and the Lawrence Children's Choir did not expect the response they received after performing at the American Choral Directors Assn. national convention in Chicago.
Letters, e-mails and invitations to perform have poured in.
"I've heard from people all over the United States and outside of the United States," Krehbiel said. "They talk about the sound (of the choir), and the way the students penetrated through the audience with their sound, and the sincerity of their faces."
The Lawrence group was one of three U.S. children's choirs selected to perform at the ACDA convention in February. The other choirs were the Cincinnati Boys Choir and a middle school madrigal group from Nevada.
The Lawrence choir, whose 75 members are in grades 5 through 9 and represent 17 schools in the Lawrence area, performed a 25-minute concert that included "Sing You Now," by Bob Chilcott; "Let's Imitate Her Notes," by George Fredrick Handel; "Bless the Lord," by Andrew Carter; "Smieklis Man," arranged by Aldonis Kalnins; "Ask the Moon," by Ron Nelson; "Hey Nonny No!," by Crystal La Point Kowalski; and "Here's to Song," by Allister MacGillivray.
In addition to performing at the convention, the choir presented two programs at Medinah Temple, also in Chicago.
One of the audience members who wrote to Krehbiel was Chilcott.
"Your performance at the ACDA was simply one of the highlights of the whole convention -- honesty," he wrote. "It was such a beautiful, natural, musical singing. There was such a buzz in the audience. " Thanks so much for singing my piece -- I was very proud, and you sang it just as I imagined it. I loved the Andrew Carter pieces, and you sang them so brilliantly -- I am very fond of Andrew, and these pieces reflect him so much. I found that very moving."
Peter Bagley, head of the choral department at the University of Connecticut, agreed.
"I was sitting with a graduate assistant from Michigan (he was president of the Michigan Glee Club) and his friend, also from Michigan, and " (several other) students in the chapter," he wrote. "After your opening number they all turned around and looked at me with mouths wide open. I had not said a word about you or the ensemble. " They were flabbergasted by the unison singing. " You could see and hear the magic, the wonderment and the fun of singing and making music -- and that's what it's all about at any age."
For others in the audience, hearing the choir one time wasn't enough.
"We've had many, many calls to do festivals and conventions," said Krehbiel, who founded the choir with her sister, accompanist Marilyn Epp, in the fall of 1991. "We've had letters who want us to perform in Germany, England, Italy, Australia and Vancouver (Canada). We've been asked to do Carnegie Hall. The problem is we don't have the money."
In March 2000, a children's choir festival will be held at Carnegie Hall, with Krehbiel acting as its choral director. The cost to send the Lawrence Children's Choir to the festival is estimated at $1,000 per singer, or about $75,000.
Krehbiel has already been working on scheduling the choir's 1999-2000 season. The youngsters will perform at an administrative conference in October in Lawrence and a performance with the Boys Choir of Harlem in December at the Lied Center.
-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIME TO AUDITION
What: Auditions for the Lawrence Children's Choir, a choral group for students in grades 6 through 9.
When: From 10:20 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 22 and from 3:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. May 28.
Where: Choral Room, Southwest Junior High School.
To set up an audition: Call Cindy McCoy, 841-3070.
Rehearsals: Held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, September through mid-spring.
For more information: Call Cheri Woolsey, 838-9890, or Dicksie Lloyd, 842-8606.