Grooving alongside their idols, the Rice St. singers belted out songs on a stage in Atlantic City, New Jersey during their three day trip.
From April 4 to April 7, the jazz choir Rice St., along with conductor Dr. Kevin McDonald, pianist, Mr. Chad Weirick, drummer, Alex Goldman, and bassist, Will Griffin, participated in the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) All-Eastern conference. Teachers brought accepted students and groups from state divisions across the eastern seaboard.
NAfME is one of the world’s largest arts education organizations, which runs at the local, state and national level. The organization provides resources for students and teachers and holds events such as the All-Eastern conference in Atlantic City.
The group was able to participate because the Rice St. singers from last year submitted the CD that NAfME accepted.
While in Atlantic City, the Rice St. singers held a clinic on American song, vocal jazz, and the importance of jazz in a school curriculum. In the clinic, McDonald discussed the value of teaching jazz and provided tips for music educators on running a vocal jazz program. The Rice St. singers then demonstrated techniques by singing various songs. Some members of the group shared their own experiences learning about jazz in Rice St.
Rice St. also had the opportunity to sing with the New York Voices, a professional vocal group consisting of four singers, a band, and a pianist.
In the concert, Rice St. and the New York Voices sang “The World Keeps You Waiting” together. Rice St. also sang six songs in their own concert.
Rice St. watched the New York Voices mic check, as well as rehearsed, before singing with them. They then were able to socialize with them after the performance.
Savitri Fouda ’17, an intensive in Rice St., described the members of the New York Voices as “amazingly charismatic,” as they tried to engage the singers and get them to move around more as they sang.
“A lot of the harder songs we performed were their songs. They’re a model for what we aspire to sound like, so we were all a little starstruck when we got on stage,” Fouda said.
This concert was unique because each member of Rice St. had a chance to be in the spotlight and have at least one featured moment.
Because this trip lasted three days, the group spent more time together and had to prepare more for their performances.
“The group worked hard to prepare for this trip. It was nonstop during the trip and the week before to get everything ready. Although we were all exhausted from the get-go, we pushed through and had a blast while still performing really well. We got to test our limits and be acknowledged for all of our hard work,” Dan Carter ’18, another member of Rice St., said.
After all the effort the Rice St. singers put into this conference, they are eager to look to the future.
“Even though all the people from last year who graduated did not get to come with us, their success now led to this, and now maybe there are people who saw us at the conference or that have even started talking to Dr. McDonald about possible opportunities for the future,” Hannah Scholl ’17, an intensive in Rice St., said.