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City High Students Perform With Leslie Odom Jr.

Iowa City Gathered Together Sunday Night for a Free Outdoor Concert by Hamilton Star Leslie Odom Jr.

October 2, 2017

Lindy Rublaitus
On Sunday, October 1st, all the high school choirs in the Iowa City School District came together to sing an opening act for Leslie Odom Jr. City High, West High, Liberty High, and Regina students worked on one song at school then came to Hancher to perform for the community at the free outdoor concert.

“The Hancher people approached me last spring about collaborating with a different artist who will be coming to Iowa City May 2018,” Dr. James Thompson, City High’s choir director, said. “In discussing that event, the subject of singing for the Leslie Odom Jr. concert came up and eventually became a reality.”

During the one rehearsal that students worked on the song as a large group for, the West High School choir director explained that Leslie Odom Jr. was given a selection of songs for the students to sing. He eventually chose a song Be The Change which became a very serious topic for how the directors were viewing their students.

“When one has the opportunity to closely observe elite-level performing, they come away from that experience with a greater understanding of the elements that make that performer elite,” James Thompson said. “I am thrilled that our students have had this opportunity to grow and learn from one of the greatest living performers.”

Students were thrilled not only about performing on the same stage as a Broadway celebrity, most well known for his role as Aaron Burr in Hamilton, but were excited to work so closely with the other schools. Many students don’t get to work with people from outside of their schools for big projects like this concert.

“I think it’s actually really cool to sing with all the different choirs because we don’t get to do this a lot,” said Claire Green ‘19. “I think it’s really interesting that we are all singing together and the arts are bringing us together when we have a lot of rivalries in the sports world.”

Opportunities like this are hopefully going to continue to come as the directors of Hancher and the ICCSD choirs hope this will become a tradition.

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