May 16, 2024

Spring Semester Highlight: Chamber Choir Sings in NYC

Of the many memorable events in the spring semester, the Faith Chamber Choir’s trip to New York City is perhaps the most noteworthy. The purpose of the trip, which took place between April 5 and April 9, was to join choral groups from across the country in premiering Dan Forrest’s new oratorio CREATION live in David Geffen Hall in the Lincoln Center. 

CREATION was commissioned by the Wayne Oratorio Society to commemorate the 225th anniversary of Joseph Haydn’s oratorio on the same subject. They premiered the work in November 2023. The Chamber Choir joined four other choirs and some individual participants in the first performance of the work in New York City on April 8, 2024. Forrest himself was present for the performance, and Chamber Choir members were able to meet the composer as part of the experience. The total experience was one that choir member Megan Wagner described as “once-in-a-lifetime.”

This unique opportunity came about after the Chair of the Music Department, Dr. Chris Ellis, saw an announcement inviting choirs to apply to be a part of the Masterwork Chorale performing Forrest’s CREATION for the first time in New York City. Dr. Ellis submitted videos of the Chamber Choir singing, and they were invited to participate in the live performance. 

The benefits of this experience were many. When asked to list some of the most significant positive effects of the trip, Dr. Ellis said, “I think the benefits for our students of participating in this concert included the opportunity to be a part of the performance of new, quality music that is based on biblical principles in a well-known musical environment, to get a taste of the musical community outside of church and Faith, to see the spiritual need of the people who enthusiastically take part in singing biblical truths yet do not understand what they are singing, and to be a testimony to the other choir members taking part in the event.”

Cody Nihart, a member of the Chamber Choir, echoed these thoughts when he noted the venues and the music itself as undoubted highlights of the experience: “I think a highlight was just being in the rehearsal halls trying to make the music come to life.” 

The trip was not all rehearsing and performing, though. Students were able to do a bit of sightseeing, too. They visited several famous New York City sites, such as Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, and the Empire State Building.

In summarizing the experience, Megan (Hutchinson) Gerber said, “Overall, we were grateful for the time we could grow together, both musically and as a choir. Our ultimate goal was to glorify God with our musical abilities and attitudes. We are thankful to everyone who prayed for and supported us.”