OSWEGO, NY – A “gold medal” performance was achieved by the Oswego High School Chamber Singers as they proved to be among the elite groups at this year’s 2011 Heritage Music Festival.
Not only did the OHS singers return home with honors and two very prestigious invitations as a result of their outstanding performance in the 2011 Heritage Music Festival held in Annapolis, Md., they also honored the memory of Lt. Nate Williams.
Director Veronica Shaver said, “The highlight of our trip was the announcement, on Saturday evening, that we were awarded a Gold Award for our outstanding performance in adjudication on Saturday morning. Also presented to the Chamber Singers was an invitation to participate in the Festival at Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Choir Festival to be held in NYC and an invitation to participate in the Festival of Gold’s National Invitational Choral Festival to be held in NYC, Chicago and Los Angeles. Both festivals will be held in the spring of 2012.”
The Chamber Singers making the trip included Hannah Allen, Cameron Caruso, Rebecca Chatterton, Jane Coty, Cassandra Crisafulli, Cody Crouse, Lauren Defoe, Shaughnessy Darrow, Billy DeLapp, Colton Dryden, Josh Ewig, Danielle Faivus, Tara Fresch, Monica George, Steven Glenn, Tiffany Green, Cali Harrington, Jessica Krauss, Erin McIntosh, Maddison Neuland, Joseph Ruggio, Katherine Schermerhorn, Rebecca Smith, Alex Todd and Nick Williams.
The choir, 25 strong, enjoyed many of the historic and noteworthy places in Annapolis and surrounding area including the US Naval Academy.
They experienced some of the local eateries and many tasted crab for which Annapolis is well- known.
Eating dinner at the Drydock Restaurant with the US Naval Academy Midshipman was pretty exciting for them as well.
A trip into Baltimore provided a fun-filled Dolphin Show at the National Aquarium and Medieval Times in Hanover was quite a dining experience!
Shaver explained this trip took on something else that was very important.
She said, “A solemn and very serious moment for our choir took place on Friday. We had been informed, on our drive to Annapolis, that a former OHS student, Nathan Williams, was killed in a Naval training mission in California. This news hit me especially hard as I know Nathan’s family, my children grew up with the Williams children and I had the opportunity to accompany for Nathan as he performed on his saxophone for a NYSSMA Solo Festival. All of the festival participants assembled in the Naval Academy Chapel Friday afternoon. The Chamber Singers observed a moment of silence in memory of Nate. Following a breathtaking organ demonstration, each of the ensembles was invited to perform one of their pieces from the altar in the Chapel. The OHS Chamber Singers accepted their invitation and chose to perform “Remember.” We dedicated our performance to Nathan Williams. I was so very proud of my singers as they shared so many touching moments through this song. The lyrics could not have been more fitting for such a solemn tribute to a wonderful young man. My singers poured their hearts and souls into this performance and brought many members of their audience to tears.”
On Friday evening, the choir was treated to a wonderful concert presented by the US Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club.
Shaver said, “Not only was the concert entertaining, but incredibly well-performed. The excitement on the faces of my students when the Midshipmen sprinted into Mahan Auditorium was a sight to behold.”
The Midshipmen circled the audience as they sang “Brother’s Sing On.”
After taking the stage, they presented a program full of many genres of music sung by the entire Glee Club as well as their Barbershop Quartet (Clean Shave), The Anchormen and The Skivs who sang a wide variety of music.
Shaver noted, “A very exciting moment was when two of our young men, Cody Crouse and Steven Glenn, were invited to the stage to stand among the Midshipmen to sing ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.’ That was such a thrilling experience for them and one they will never forget!”
It was a wonderful trip packed with memories.
The veteran OHS music teacher said, “I cannot begin to express the pride and love I have for each of my students. To stand before them and feel their warmth as they bring each and every piece of music they perform to life is such an honor. As a teacher, there just isn’t a better reward for all the time and energy that is poured into rehearsals. The OHS Chamber Singers are a very talented group of young men and women who know how to have fun, enjoy life and share their gift and love of music with their audiences. I am looking forward, with great anticipation, to next year and the wonderful opportunities that have been offered to my choir. Carnegie Hall is a magnificent place to perform and is often reserved for only the best of the best! An invitation to participate in a Festival of Gold is also an honor. This invitation is extended to only the best choirs in the country and I am so very proud of my students for receiving such distinction.”