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The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

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City Choirs to Hold Biennial Masterworks Concert

All four City choirs will perform on Wednesday’s concert
Members+of+Concert+Choir+sing+on+Choral+Collage+Concert+in+collaboration+with+choirs+from+West+and+Liberty+High%2C+as+well+as+University+of+Iowa+choirs+at+Voxman+Music+Building
Esther Puderbaugh
Members of Concert Choir sing on Choral Collage Concert in collaboration with choirs from West and Liberty High, as well as University of Iowa choirs at Voxman Music Building

On Wednesday, December 20th, the biennial City High choral Masterworks Concert will take place in Opstad Auditorium. The concert showcases major choral works, and this year City’s four choirs will present Franz Schubert’s Mass in G and Craig Hella Johnson’s Considering Matthew Shepard.

“Both [Mass in G and Considering Matthew Shepard] are in different ways staples in the choral canon and we don’t often have an opportunity to perform things like that in that way here,” City High Choir Director Tyler Hagy said. “So having that opportunity to work in that way and to prepare one of these larger works is something that’s pretty special.”

Programmed pieces, Considering Matthew Shepard by Craig Hella Johnson and Schubert’s Mass in G, contrast each other in style. 

“This concert specifically is an opportunity to not only tackle [a] larger more challenging varied piece but also the message of the piece and the topic of the piece is very timely and I’d give a lot of props to Mr Hagy for that,” said Nina Peterson ‘25.

Traditionally, only Concert Choir performs the major work(s) showcased in the concert, but this year the directors decided to expose all choirs to the work involved with presenting major choral works. 

“Historically the other choirs have just done normal choral music essentially for those concerts. [But this year we are allowing] them the opportunity to collaborate together and sing a larger work,” Hagy said. “Schubert’s Mass in G is a popular piece and is one that lots of singers should know. It’s very accessible in lots of different ways not only for the singers but also for the players and so we kind of settled on that as being kind of an interesting pairing, pairing a piece from the romantic era (Mass in G) with this very contemporary piece (Considering Matthew Shepard) to also give the audience some breadth in terms of what they might hear over the course of the concert.”

The Masterworks Concert will showcase members of City’s Orchestras as well as soloists from the community.

“It’s a collaboration of a lot of the music because it’s not just choir. There’s instrumentalists [and] we’re bringing soloists in from outside the school. It’s a group effort for sure,” Nicole Peterson ‘25 said.

But for Hagy, this year’s Masterworks Concert isn’t just an opportunity to perform pretty music. It’s a chance to show students and audience members that music can be a force for change in the world. 

“The subject matter in the Matthew Shepard piece in particular is different than a lot of the stuff we do because it does have in a way a very important social component to the message behind the piece and the inspiration behind the piece,” Hagy said. “But it also talks a lot about ‘what can we do as people to change the world to be better’ which also is something that we don’t necessarily experience in choral music very often. This piece does a good job of reminding us all that music can have an opinion and that music can have a message. It’s not necessarily about just listening to pretty music. Music can actually be a force for change and can certainly comment about events of the modern day.”

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Esther Puderbaugh, Website Executive, A&E Editor, and Social Media Co-Editor
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