December 3, 2013

20 Years of Gala Holiday Pops

This season, the RPO celebrates Jeff Tyzik’s 20th anniversary, and also the 20th annual Gala Holiday Pops concerts, taking place Dec. 19*-22. Tyzik conducts the RPO, along with the Festival High School Chorale and the new Community Children's Chorus, in sparkling carols, holiday favorites, and more.

In recognition of this momentous occasion, we talked with chorale director Harold McAulliffe, who works with co-director Amy Story to put the concert together.

How did the first Festival High School Chorale come together?
Jeff approached myself (High School Choral Director at Pittsford Sutherland), and Lonnie Arnold (High School Choral Director at Fairport) to see if we would be interested in recruiting and preparing a choir made up of students from local area high schools. We were, and the rest is history.

What are some of the highlights for you?
The greatest highlight is having former participants share with me the positive significance that their experience played in their lives. Seeing the pride that the students show when having the honor of performing with the RPO. Observing how competitive it has become to now be a part of the choir.

What has changed through the years?
The quality of the choir. We now have standards such as NYSSMA** solo scores and previous NYSSMA and County festival participation. The students now have to be recommended by their teacher and the teacher has to rate each submitted student on a proficiency list.

How do you find new singers for the chorus each year?
We invite each choral director from all area high schools to submit to us a list of no more than 10 students for our consideration. Each student’s qualifications and proficiency list placement is taken into consideration.

What is the atmosphere like backstage during the Gala Holiday Pops?
Full of excitement and pride as the students realize the honor that they are experiencing.

* Dec. 19 is a special performance benefitting the Rochester Rotary Sunshine Campus and the Monroe Community Hospital Foundation. Ticket prices for this concert differ from the other performances.

** NYSSMA = New York State School Music Association

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is nice that these kids get a chance to sing carols together and not worry about facing expulsion from their school.