Arts & Culture / Mosaic / Music / Special Topics / April 10, 2013

Knox Choir sings strong at Carnegie Hall

Over spring break, the Knox College Choir performed in Carnegie Hall. (Photo Courtesy of Laura Lane)

Over spring break, the Knox College Choir performed in Carnegie Hall. (Photo courtesy of Laura Lane)

Over spring break, the Knox College Choir went on tour to New York City and sang in the famous Carnegie Hall.

While they were there, senior Laurel Tippe and juniors Jenna Cohen and Eli Mulhausen updated the choir’s blog,, with details of their singing experiences and adventures around the city. Below, excerpts from some momentous occasions that Tippe, Cohen and Mulhausen recorded.

Tippe (3 weeks ago):
As we are getting super close to tour, I wanted to know what other choir students are excited about. Here is what some of them said:

“Singing showtunes about the Big Apple in the Big Apple with fellow choir members,” sophomore Jonathan Vardon said.

“I am so excited, because I’ve never been to New York before. I can’t wait to explore the city and sing in Carnegie Hall,” sophomore Clint Davis said.

“I am excited to see new places and go to museums and historic places,” Mulhausen said.

Tippe (2 weeks ago):
Tour has been incredible so far! The big city has so many different things to do during the day and night. Choir kids have been taking the city by storm, checking out museums, Chinatown, Central Park, etc.

Some of the best moments of the tour so far have come from the music. Yesterday, we had our first concert of the tour at St. Joseph’s Yorkville. We got to the church to warm up and immediately fell in love with the acoustics upon testing them out. The reverberation was beautiful, bright, and in tune, all wonderful characteristics for choral singing.

There was an excitement running through the group that fueled our warm ups. Things were locking into place and everyone got to experience the process of changing little minute details up until the last minute. It is amazing that we can still improve the music, even after we know a piece so well. For example, in warm ups, we really focused on tuning the final chord of our opening piece, Gaudete Omnes. Finally, the last chords rang in a way that they never have before.

Mulhausen (2 weeks ago):
Yesterday, after a free morning full of rest and adventures, the choir filed onto the bus and drove off to perform at Irvington Presbyterian Church. We were kindly hosted at the church by Betsy, a Knox College Choir alumna, who gave us the opportunity to perform in her church. She also provided us with a delicious, home-cooked dinner.

The concert went wonderfully. It was full of excitement and emotions from the choir because it was the last concert where we performed our own tour program in New York. The church’s warm acoustics gave the sound of the choir a very welcoming feeling.

Today, we had our first rehearsal with all the vocal groups that will comprise the vocal ensemble that will perform Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. The four-hour rehearsal was constructive and fast-paced. Many singers found it to go by very quickly because of the high level of concentration and excitement from singing together.

It will be very exciting to see how much the Mass will improve and to bring the ensemble to its full potential in the next few days. Everyone is looking forward to singing in Carnegie Hall on Monday!

Cohen (2 weeks ago):
After four hours of rehearsing, KCC members unwind with the traditional telling of “Golden Screw” stories. These stories celebrate our less graceful moments on tour. “Slightly” exaggerated tales of epic falls and general shenaniganry are shared and voted on. The winner gets to wear the Golden Screw for 24 hours, including during concerts. When asked, the wearer of The Screw must tell “word-for-word” the story that won them the screw.

Tippe (1 week ago):
The day is finally here! We are singing in Carnegie Hall tonight! We have had two excellent days of rehearsals with just the chorus. Later today we get to put the whole thing together with the soloists and orchestra during our sound check in the hall.

All the hard work will be put to the test tonight on the stage that most musicians dream of standing on … and most never get the chance. We are nervous and anxious, but mostly excited to show off this incredible chorus and this awesome piece.

Cohen (1 week ago):
We did it! Performing at Carnegie Hall was life-changing!

Chelsea Embree
Chelsea Embree is a senior majoring in creative writing and minoring in art history. She previously served as co-mosaic editor and as an arts and features reporter for TKS. During the summer of 2013, she served as a content intern at The St. Louis Beacon. Chelsea has studied under former Random House copy chief Sean Mills and taught writing as a teaching assistant for First-Year Preceptorial. An avid blogger, she has written extensively about youth in St. Louis and maintains a lively poetry and nonfiction blog on Tumblr. She is also the director of communications for Mortar Board and co-president of Terpsichore Dance Collective.

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