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Gallery of Choruses

Participating in Carnegie Hall Concert featuring Gwyneth Walker Works

November 22, 2005

Songs for Womens Voices (2004) for SSAA chorus and chamber orchestra, and performances of Crossing the Bar (2004) for SSA chorus and chamber orchestra, I Thank You God (2004) for SSA chorus and chamber orchestra by an assembled honors chorus and the New England Symphonic Ensemble, Carnegie Hall, New York City, New York

Saint Mary's College Women's Choir (South Bend, Indiana), Nancy Menk, conductor

St. Louis Women's Chorale (St. Louis, Missouri), Scott Schoonover, conductor

Voca Lyrica (Big Rapids, Michigan), Virginia Kerwin, conductor

Sounding Joy! (Randolph, Vermont), Marjorie Drysdale, conductor (photo by RMW Eddy)

McAuley High School Women's Chorus (Cincinnati, Ohio), Mary White, conductor

LaPorte High School Treble Chorale (LaPorte, Indiana), Tom Coe, conductor

A special thanks to the following choruses for their collaboration with Gwyneth Walker in preparing the repertoire for the Carnegie Hall concert.

Meredith College Chorale (Raleigh, North Carolina), Lisa Fredenburgh, conductor (premiere of Songs for Women's Voices with orchestra)

Hamburg High School Concert Chorale (Hamburg, New York), Norman Zogaib, conductor (premiere of I Thank You God with orchestra and second performance of Crossing the Bar with orchestra)

Texas Woman's University Concert Choir (Denton, Texas), Joni Jensen, conductor (second performance of Songs for Women's Voices with orchestra)

Joni Jensen, conductor (Texas Woman's University)

And thank you, Nancy Menk, for bringing us all to Carnegie Hall!

Photos from the pre-concert dinner

Philip and Denise Walker

Denise and Gwyneth Walker

Walker family and friends

Sounding Joy! and friends

Alan, Denise, and Gwyneth Walker

Other concert photos

Gwyneth Walker, Nancy Menk, and the women of Sounding Joy!

Members of Sounding Joy! outside Carnegie Hall

Newspaper articles regarding this concert:

Singers of Sounding Joy! Will Be Part of New York City Concert

By Martha Slater
Randolph Herald

BRAINTREE, VERMONT — Next Tuesday, Braintree composer Gwyneth Walker will receive an honor that most composers can only dream about. A concert at New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall will feature her music, performed by an orchestra and 200 singers drawn from choruses across the country. And among the singers performing at Carnegie Hall will be 10 women from the Randolph vocal group "Sounding Joy!" The Nov. 22 concert is part of a two-day concert series featuring outstanding musical ensembles and conductors.

Walker's part of the program will include "I Thank You God," "Six Songs for Women’s Voices," and "Crossing the Bar." The singers will be accompanied by the New England Symphonic Ensemble, and conducted by Nancy Menk, a professor of music and department chair at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind.

"Sounding Joy!" will join six other female vocal ensembles from around the U.S. The local singers participating are Marjorie Drysdale, Valerie Daniel, Pauline Garner, Maria Lamson, Kay McLoughlin, Julia Pattison, Jennifer Moore, Rebecca McMeekin, Revell Allen, and Jan Fowler. Arriving in New York City, Saturday evening, the Randolph women will spend the next several days in lengthy rehearsals, but they will also take time off to do sightseeing and visit friends and family in the area. Sounding Joy! has a long-standing relationship with Walker’s music, noted director Marjorie Drysdale. "In fact, we named our group after a hymn tune by Randolph colonial composer Justin Morgan, entitled ‘Sounding Joy,’ and when Gwyneth heard us sing, she updated that tune and composed our signature piece, also entitled ‘Sounding Joy,’" Drysdale explained. "Since then, we’ve performed a number of concerts featuring her music. She’s an extraordinary composer." The Vermont Arts Council agrees. It named her as recipient of its Lifetime Achievement in 2000.

Walker noted that the Carnegie Hall event came about because "a number of years ago, I realized there was not very much repertoire for women’s chorus and orchestra. I decided to take some of my existing choral work with piano accompaniment and orchestrate them. I did this project on my own, since I wasn’t commissioned to do it. It really was an experiment, but no sooner did I tell people about it than all sorts of choruses wanted to perform it!"

One of those requests came from Menk, who asked if the re-orchestration would be ready by fall 2005 for this event at Carnegie Hall. Walker decided that she wanted to hear the orchestral version performed before it went to Carnegie Hall, so she would have time to make any changes she wanted. "I’ve been going around the country to colleges and schools to hear my music performed, so I could fine-tune it," Walker said. "This project has taken several years to complete and I’ve done a lot of traveling! This same music will be performed again at Carnegie Hall next spring by different choruses."

When Menk decided to put on this fall’s program of music at Carnegie Hall she had MidAmerica Productions, which is organizing the event, send out invitations to choruses around the country, and Sounding Joy! received one of those invitations. These different choruses, totaling about 200 singers from ages high school to adult, have never sung together, but Walker says she’s not nervous and has no doubt that the results will be wonderful.

"I’ll be sitting there in the hall, with family members and friends, just enjoying the evening," she said. It won't be the first time she's heard her music performed in a prestigious New York concert hall. A tennis-inspired piece she wrote called "Match Point" was once performed at Lincoln Center with tennis star Billie Jean King conducting with a tennis racket.

Local group to perform at Carnegie Hall

By Brielle Burt
Pioneer Community Editor

BIG RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — A local women’s choir, Voca Lyrica, has been given the opportunity of a lifetime as they will be singing on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Nov. 22. In February, Voca Lyrica’s founding Director Virginia Kerwin received a letter of invitation from MidAmerica Productions asking the group to participate in a performance of Gwyneth Walker’s Six Songs for Women’s Voices in Carnegie Hall with a full orchestra, professional soloists and internationally known conductor Maestra Menk. “We are very happy to represent Big Rapids in the concert,” Kerwin said. “Every time we perform, we are artistic ambassadors from our community.” The other choruses that will sing with Voca Lyrica include: Women of Lakeshore Choirs from Stevensville; St. Louis Women’s Chorale of St. Louis, Mo.; McAuley High School Chorus of Harrison, Ohio; LaPorte High School Treble Chorale of LaPorte, Ind.; St. Mary’s College Women’s Choir of Notre Dame, Ind.; and Sounding Joy of Randolph, Vt. The songs that will be performed are “I Thank You God,” “Women Should Be Pedestals,” “Mornings Innocent,” “The Name is Changeless,” “ Love is a Rain of Diamonds,” “In Autumn,” “I Will Be Earth” and “Crossing the Bar.” There will be a total of approximately 150 singers in the chorus, which will be accompanied by the New England Symphonic Ensemble.

Twenty-five of the 30 members of Voca Lyrica will fly into New York on Nov. 19 where they will stay at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. On Nov. 20 and 21 the group will attend rehearsals and on Nov. 22 they will perform for an audience at 8 p.m. “I’m thrilled that all of the women in my group will have the opportunity to sing on stage at Carnegie Hall where so many famous people have performed,” Kerwin said. “To create beauty with all those other women will be extraordinary.” Representing Voca Lyrica at Carnegie Hall will be the following members: Virginia Kerwin, Mary Kay Anderson, Christina Bertrand, Mary Boone, Sue Burns, Suzette Compton, Coleen Dice, Netty Cove, Donna Drake, Paula Hampson, Karol Hartley, Cathy Johnson, Berneta Kelsch, Sue Kwant, Linda Lincoln, Karin McKean, Dianne Nelson, Sue O’Neill-Cook, Ruth Reeds, Marian Sakalauskas, Rachel Schumann, Lori Soares, Helen Sobers, AND Joan Wellnitz.