Q: Why do you do this every year?
A: At the core of Choral Collaborative origins is the recognition of the quality of teaching that is in Omaha, the enthusiasm of the directors for singing in big projects and a willingness of these directors to have this project be the primary focus for their students from the middle of August to the second week in November. The project takes place in the fall in order to become the standard bearer of choral singing for the rest of the school year.
Q: What is unique about this program?
A: When I think about what makes Choral Collaborative possible, it is clear that it is the work of the directors based upon the opportunity to perform with their Omaha Symphony at the Holland. We believe that a program of this nature is unique not only in the United States, but possibly in the world.
Q: What impact does this program have on students?
A: In addition to the opportunity for students to perform with the Omaha Symphony, we bring in major soloists who exemplify the singing that the directors, our chorusmaster (Dr. A. Barron Breland) and I have been teaching over the course of the preparation. The soloists are brought into the schools a week before the performance. When our guest soloists arrive, the students are done listening to us; the singers execute what has been described. We choose singers not only for the quality of their singing, but who also exude enthusiasm for spreading the artform to new generations of performers.
The first time the students hear a professional soloist, the light of epiphany is on all the faces of the students; they likely have never heard singing at this high level, up close and personal.
Because of these school visits, the students feel personally connected to the soloists, which then completes the cycle of director, orchestra, chorus and soloist and elevates this experience to one that changes the lives of the students.