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IU South Bend choirs experience ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ performing at Carnegie Hall

June 8, 2016

IU sophomore Lindsay Boussom called it "an amazing gift" to take a recent trip to New York City to perform the IU South Bend Chorale and Chamber Choirs at Carnegie Hall.


IU South Bend conductors James Bowyer, left, and Marvin V. Curtis. | PHOTO COURTESY OF IU SOUTH BEND

The chorale and chamber choirs, along with the South Bend Symphonic Choir, performed there in early May. The choirs are composed of 52 singers, 27 of whom were IU South Bend students.

“The trip was honestly the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Boussom, a music education major who hails from Goshen, Ind. “My favorite part was traipsing around town with my good friends Brianna Liras, Andrew Sellers and Juan Carlos Alcaron. We explored a bunch of really cute food places and took a ride on the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, and we also spent an afternoon in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We were exhausted, but every experience we had was absolutely worth staying awake for!”

She said the chance to sing in the space that’s hosted the world's premier musicians made the trip particularly special.

That, and the chance to get a behind-the-scenes peek at the famous venue.

“I’ll never forget how, after dress rehearsal on the stage in the hall a few hours before our performance, we walked around to the lobby of the hall where a door was propped open. We went in and were looking around, and the caretaker of the hall showed up and was surprised because the door was not supposed to be open,” Boussom said. “Even though it was 20 minutes before anything was scheduled to open, he led us up to the museum and bookstore and showed us around. It was astounding to have the museum to ourselves and to get to see pictures and memorabilia from performers like Julie Andrews, one of my all-time favorite singers.”

choir at carnegie hall

IU South Bend choirs rehears at Carnegie Hall. | PHOTO COURTESY OF IU SOUTH BEND

During the May 8 concert, the choirs sang works arranged and conducted by Marvin V. Curtis, dean of the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts (“Great Day”) and IU South Bend assistant professor of music education James Bowyer (“Bow Down Low.”)

“It was a wonderful experience,” Curtis said. “The choirs were well-prepared and sang their pieces beautifully.”

The South Bend groups were invited to perform by composer Jacqueline Hairston. She’d worked with Curtis before and, upon hearing a recording of the choirs, asked them to be part of a performance.

A product of The Julliard School, Howard University and Columbia University, Hairston is an award-winning composer, arranger, pianist and music educator. She is the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Preserving Negro Spirituals, the Los Angeles Living Legends Award for arranging African-Diaspora music, and was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame for Culture and Art. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2012 as a guest conductor with 300 singers performing her trademark choral arrangements of spirituals.

The performance aligns with priorities outlined in the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including a commitment to student success.

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