Photos courtesy of BHS.
BHS Concert Choir and Advanced Women's Chorale right before the concert.

Ballard choirs perform at Carnegie Hall with renowned conductors and artists

Over the weekend Ballard High School’s Concert Choir and Advanced Women’s Chorale participated in a festival at Queens College and performed onstage at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Led by Director Courtney Rowley, the choirs performed at the 2016 COA Nationals for Top Choirs on March 17-19. Ballard was among a special group of schools from across the country invited to participate.

Students also attended master classes and participated in clinics and adjudications with world-class choral conductors, which included renowned conductor, Dr. Anton Armstrong of St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

The culmination of the trip was a collaboration performance with other top U.S. choirs at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. The concert was directed by Dr. Armstrong and included a premier composition by composer, André Thomas called, “Credo.” Thomas played gospel piano for the performance.

In addition to Thomas’ piece, BHS choirs joined other choirs in singing, “Let Thy Deeds Be Glorious,” by Handel, "Flight Song," by Kim Arnesen and “True Light,” by Keith Hampton. They also sang “The Sweetheart of the Sun,” by Eric William Barnum, under the direction of Rowley.

Rowley said the performance was “spectacular,” and that the audience was moved to tears during Thomas’ climactic composition.

Carn Choir
This is the Ballard Choirs performing “The Sweetheart of the Sun,” by Eric William Barnum, under the direction of Courtney Rowley.

“It makes me feel grateful as a teacher that my students get to collaborate with the greatest conductors and artists in the country, and to see the joy on their faces when they are singing is a pretty wonderful feeling,” said Rowley.

The Ballard News-Tribune spoke with Rowley the day after the concert.

“The big concert last night went really well, and it was outstanding to see what the students were able to accomplish. I think to be invited here is a testament to the level of excellence of the program at Ballard High School and to the students’ achievements and the students of previous years.”

This was Rowley’s second time at Carnegie Hall after performing there while in college, however this was the first trip to New York City for many of the BHS students. After the performance over the weekend, Rowley only had words of praise for her students.

“It was really cool to see their first time experience of being on stage and just walking out on the hall. It’s so beautiful, and to hear their songs was amazing. Acoustically it’s such a wonderful place and to watch them experience it was remarkable.”

Outside of performing and attending workshops, the students had a full trip seeing the sites. Rowley said that on Saturday night they were going to see the musical, “Something Rotten,” on Broadway. During the trip they also sang for a large crowd in Central Park, went to the top of the Rockefeller Building, visited the 9/11 Memorial, Battery Park and the Museum of Natural History and went shopping on 5th Avenue.

“It makes me feel proud of the hard work we are doing in Ballard, and it’s wonderful to see that hard work pay off when the students have a once in lifetime opportunity like this.”

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