Choral collaboration

Michelle Boltz

During the 2009 Fall Choral Concert at at White Concert Hall, Washburn ushered in a new tradition by inviting the top local and surrounding high school choirs to participate in its concerts.

Two choirs from Emporia were invited to this special event: Emporia High School Chorale and Viva Voce. Melinda Groves was the accompanist.

“This is our first time at White Concert Hall, and we’re glad to be here,” said Sheree Stoppel, director.

Other choral groups featured at the Washburn concert were the Washburn Women’s Chorus, directed by Catherine Hunt and accompanied by Char Taggart, and the Washburn Choir and Washburn Singers, directed by Kevin Kellim and accompanied by Cynthia Neufeld-Smith.

The opening song was “Jambo Rafiki Yangu,” which in Swahili means, “Welcome my friend! Always remember me and I will remember you. You are so wonderful.” Lynton Whithira Macharia helped with the translation. Soloists were Mirah McClairen and Kelsey Rice. Percussionists were Robert Hanson, Matt Mirsch, Lucas Whippo and David Wingerson.

“We’ve been working really hard, and we’re going to have a great concert,” said Janae Rangel, a soprano in the Washburn Choir.

A few of the songs from the concert were in Swahili, Spanish and Latin. Washburn Singers Jennifer Berroth and Nick Arnold were the featured dancers during “Famine Song.” Washburn Singer Jessica Crowder, soprano, was the soloist in “Under the Willow Tree,” a song taken from the opera “Vanessa.”