|ChildrenSong choristers meet the Signal Hill Alumni Choir|
On a recent tour to Niagara, New York, our singers had CS-engraved wristbands to hand out to new friends as a kind of “swap”. In the past, we were always the choir to have NOTHING to share with others and our kids were always receiving gifts from other choristers. This time, we had come prepared. All along my vision was to have our singers give these wristbands to the other children participants. I was clueless as to what they were up to, but they kept coming back to me begging for more wristbands to give out. I thought to myself “wow, they must be trying to give them out to ALL the other kids!”
One night during the tour, we were in concert with an adult choir from Trinidad and Tobago. We were actually housed in the same facility as this group and ate breakfast with them daily. The group was called Signal Hill Alumni Choir directed by John Arnold. There was an immediate connection between our group and theirs. When we performed, we sang a few emotionally-moving songs – City Called Heaven and Stand Together, which showcased our choir’s ability to reach deep within the soul and engage the listener in a truly emotional experience. The Signal Hill Alumni Choir clapped wildly after our performance and our singers were grinning ear to ear.
Now it was time for the Signal Hill Choir to perform. Our choir members were mesmerized by their choreographed movements, tight harmonies, and emotional connection to the music. There was so much enthusiasm and power in their singing, we didn’t want the concert to end. One particularly memorable moment for me was when they sang a song in their usual Caribbean-style with choreography, but this time, they added fist-pumps within the song. Every time I saw their hands go “up”, there were CHILDRENSONG WRISTBANDS on their wrists. I couldn’t contain myself!! Sitting right there in the front row, I glanced back at my singers and saw them again grinning ear to ear and pointing to their own wrists, giggling softly. I couldn’t believe it. THIS is what they were up to. This was their choice, the choir whom they looked up to and the choir that was chosen to receive wristbands. Wow! What a lesson I learned that day. Yes, some of them chose to give wristbands to singers their own age, but MOST chose to give them to this choir and wanted to make sure EVERY singer had one.
After the concert, our two choirs shared a few moments, took pictures together and made a pact to get together again and share our music. We felt connected somehow through this musical experience. This I learned: age didn’t matter. It was the shared experience that moved these children and they continue to talk about the Signal Hill choir.
At our Winter Concert, we sang De Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy, Caribbean-style. I “skyped” John Arnold for performance practice ideas and the singers created some choreographed movements to go with the song on their own. They still talk about Signal Hill Alumni Choir and we hope to work with John next year in New Jersey or maybe even take a trip to Trinidad to work with his wonderful choir! Visit Signal Hill Alumni Choir at http://www.signalchoir.org/