Top District Choirs Come to Voxman


Zoe Miller, Feature Editor

There was a clamor of sounds as students bustled up to the stage. They filled in an entire half circle, everyone jammed together. There was silence, then the conductor raised his hands and 300 voices joined together.

“I thought [the mass piece] was really fun because we were doing the All-State music,” Phong Nguyen ‘20 said. “It was fun to hear how full [the sound is] because of the room.”

Choirs from City High, West High and Liberty High school joined together in the Voxman music building on October 10th for a district wide high school choir performance in conjunction with one of the choirs from the University of Iowa. City High’s Concert Choir was the last high school group to perform, sharing their three piece set.

The City High Concert Choir performed The Boy Who Picked Up His Feet To Fly by Joshua Shank, Go Lovely Rose by Edmund Waller, and Rondes by Folke Rob. The final piece, Rondes, led to some different reactions from the crowd. The piece is written in graphic notation where there are not lines and notes, but pictures of what the music should sound like. When performed, it sounds like randomized notes and vibrations.

“I don’t know why people seem to be drawn to that piece, certainly because it’s so different you don’t expect it, you don’t know what’s happening, and you don’t know what’s coming next so there’s always that sort of anticipation… I thought it was a cool thing for us [to perform it] and for everybody in the place to be pulled out of their comfort zone a little bit and get to experience something different that one doesn’t expect choral music to be,” Tyler Hagy, head choir director, said.

Rondes includes whispering, changing places with other members of the choir, and lip trills. One part of the song includes a bass leaving the stage mid-performance. Phong Nguyen ‘20 reflected on that role.

“I tried not to look [at the audience] because I would’ve gotten really nervous. I accidentally messed up actually. I couldn’t see the door and so I jumped off the stage to the side of it so I was a bit embarrassed by that but, other than that I had fun.”

The audience reaction is considered to be part of the music of Rondes from their laughter or whispers.

“[The reviews] were wholly positive and everybody was very keen to hear it, see the score and know what it was about,” Hagy said. ‘Some of the masters or doctoral students at Iowa talked to me about it too and said they really wanted to see the score because they were so intrigued by the music.”

Not only did City High get a chance to perform, but the concert choir also got to hear the other high schools perform.

“I thought it was really fun listening to the other schools,” Nguyen said. “I really liked Bring Me Little Water Silvy that one of the West High choirs did. I really liked that.”

With City High’s recent change is head choir director, this concert gave a chance to show what the music department has been working on.

“[Voxman] is just beautiful so it’s a very rewarding space to sing in, maybe not as much being on the stage itself but hearing it in the hall certainly is a very rewarding experience and just to kind of show what we’re doing now in this department and in this program what direction we are kind of heading over the course of the next several years.”