After intermission at Carnegie Hall

Clarinet choir?

marcel dupreAfter intermission at Carnegie Hall on June 13, 2022, at a concert attended by my daughter and me, the Columbus [OH] International Children’s Choir performed. CICC is “an inclusive program that aims to empower children of all ages, races, and religions.” About a third of the participants appeared to be eastern Asian.

“CICC was formed by Tatiana Kats in 1998 as a small international ensemble consisting mostly of children of immigrants… The National Music Certificate Program recognized Tatiana as a ‘Founding Teacher… instrumental in establishing a national standard for developing musicians'” in the US. Before the intermission, this group was part of the mass choir singing the Mozart Requiem.

Tebe Poem by Aleksandr Dmitrievič Kastal’skij (1856-1926), spelled in the program Alexander Kastalsky. This version is by Calicantus Children’s Choir, 2020.

Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit, arranged by William L. Dawson. I have sung this version of this song since high school choir. Here’s the Colorado State University Choirs, 2019.

Northern Lights by Ola Gjeilo. This performance is by the National Youth Choir of Australia, 2017.

Why We Sing by Greg Gilpin. Sung here by a combined choir from Chandler High School, 2014.

Next up, the Trinity University Chamber Singers of San Antonio, TX, a well-regarded group under the direction of Gary Seighman. They also sang the Mozart Requiem beforehand.

Luminescence by Andrea Ramsey. Performed here by The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Concert Choir in 2018.

If ye love me by Thomas Tallis. I’ve sung this perhaps a dozen times, maybe more often. This is the Cambridge singers, 2014.

Unclouded Day by Rev. Josiah K. Alwood, arranged by Shawn Kirchner. Listen to Cor Cantiamo, October 2017.


Finally, the Tara Winds Clarinet Choir, Dickson Grimes, founder, and director. The group was created in 2011.

Claribel by Roland Cardon. Hear CasinoKoksijde Claribel Clarinet Choir Guido Six Vzw from 2018.

The Commute by Nicole Chamberlain. Here is The Tarawinds Clarinet Choir at the 2019 ClarinetFest at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Two Songs Without Words by Gustav Holst, arranged by John Gibson. The performance is by the Community Clarinet Choir, 2015.

Variations sur un Noël op. 20 Marcel Dupré: I couldn’t find a clarinet version, arranged by Matt Johnston, at all. There are tons of organ iterations, such as this one by Christian Barthen.

But as I’m listening to it, I think, “I KNOW this piece. But much faster!” So naturally, I asked Kelly. He said, “The Dupré piece is based on a French Christmas carol called ‘Noel Nouvelet.’ I know I’ve heard it before, but I don’t recall when! It has a definite ‘Gregorian polyphony’ feel to it.”

I found some versions of the carol, written in the late 15th century or early 16th century.

The King’s Singers 

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge

This one has the musical notation 

National Youth Festival Chorus

Carnegie Hall

Robyn Lana
conductor Robyn Lana

The first performers for the concert at Carnegie Hall on Monday, June 13, 2022, were the National Youth Festival Chorus, a mass choir. It was conducted by Robyn Reeves Lana, the director of the Cincinnati Youth Choir, except for one song. Here are the selections.

Vidi Aquam by Kevin T. Padworski. The recording here is by the Cincinnati Youth Choir. CYO was one of the choirs at Carnegie Hall. And the video is from 2021, so it’s quite possible that some of the kids in the video I saw on stage. indeed, I believe I recognize a few.

The next song is The Persistence of Song by Alex Gartner, with the text by the late Howard Moss, the poetry editor of the New Yorker for almost forty years. I could not find a recording because I saw its world premiere. Gartner is the director of the Pensacola Children’s Chorus and directs the Festival Chorus for this song. Here’s him interviewed before he and the group headed to NYC.

Children Will Listen is by Stephen Sondheim from Into The Woods. It’s often covered by adults. This version is the Craighead Chorale part of The Big Sing 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Common Threads by Andrea Ramsey. The 2019 recording is by the Allegro Choirs of Kansas City, another participating group at Carnegie Hall.

When Dreams Take Flight, music by Rollo Dillworth and based on a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar. This is College of the Holy Cross, St. Joseph’s Chapel, Worcester, MA.

We Will Do Miracles by Dominick DiOrio. This seems to be the Sunday rehearsal in NYC before the Monday performance!


The other choirs participating in the National Youth Festival Chorus were the British International School NY Choir from NYC; Greenville [SC] Youth Chorale; Marin Girls Chorus from San Rafael, CA; and the Young Naperville [IL] Singers.

Next, the Masterworks Festival Chorus and New York City Chamber Orchestra performed the Mozart Requiem. The participating ensembles were The Celebration Singers, Cranford, NJ; Columbus [OH] International Children’s Choir; FUMC Allen [TX]; Gainsville [GA] Festival Singers; Scotch Plains [NJ] – Fanwood High School Chamber Choir; Trinity University Chamber Singers and Alumni, San Antonio, TX; and the Villanova [PA] Singers and Villanova Voices.

The Lydster at Carnegie Hall

As I noted, my sister was in a mass choir singing the Mozart requiem at Carnegie Hall on Monday, June 13, at 8 pm. To be honest, I was willing to let my daughter blow off school, go down to NYC with me on Sunday, then we’d come back on early Tuesday morning.

But then the school calendar changed. A sheet sent home to us and then subsequently mailed had stated that there was a mandatory senior meeting on Thursday, June 9. Caps, gowns, and honor cords were to be distributed. I was unaware of honor cords for the high school level. They are tokens “consisting of twisted cords with tassels on either end awarded to members of honor societies or for various academic and non-academic achievements, awards, or honors.” My daughter had ones for Honor Society and Art Honor Society.

An audible

But this meeting got moved to – you guessed it – Monday, June 13. So instead, my daughter came down to NYC after school that day, leaving at 3:30 pm to catch an Amtrak train scheduled to leave at 4:10. But the train was delayed and not expected to depart until 5:30, which would provide us zero time to get from Penn Station to Carnegie Hall.

Fortunately, my wife could switch our daughter to a 4:30 pm train, which arrived at 7. We took a taxi to the venue and got there by 7:30. Coincidentally, my sister Leslie was standing right where we got dropped off. My daughter and went to our VERY good seats, J1 and J3 just left of the center section.

The program

The concert had five ‘acts.” The first was the National Youth Festival Chorus, a mass choir comprised of seven choirs from seven states. The groups had been rehearsing individually but not together until two days earlier. They sang six songs, only one of which I knew, Children Will Listen by Sondheim. The c. 270 kids, roughly from 10 to 18, were very good, except for one kid near the end of a row who rocked back and forth with his thumbs in his pockets and distracted my daughter and me.

The Masterwork Festival Chorus included eight ensembles from six states, plus some stragglers, including my sister and five of her compatriots. The soloists were very good, especially the tenor (Anthony Webb) and the mezzo-soprano (Kathryn Leemhuis)/ They were accompanied by the New York City Chamber Orchestra. They too only sang together since Saturday. Following the Sunday rehearsal, they were given COVID tests. If they got called, they were positive and, therefore, out. At least seven folks couldn’t perform. My daughter recognized a couple of movements, notably Lacrymosa, probably from its use in TV and movies.

Wait, there’s more!

After the intermission, the Columbus International Children’s Choir performed. Their director, Tatiana Kats, must have perfect pitch, for she gave the notes without a pitch pipe or other instrument. They did four songs, including Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit, which I’ve sung since high school. It was the William Dawson arrangement but slightly altered. Why We Sing by Greg Gilpin had hand gestures that were quite touching.

The Trinity University Chamber Singers did three pieces, including If Ye Love Me by Tallis. A very good group. Both the Columbus and Trinity groups were part of the Mozart Requiem.

The final act was the Tara Winds Clarinet Choir, the first clarinet ensemble to play at this festival since 1935. I liked Two Songs without Words by Holst. I LOVED the Marcel Dupré: Variations sur un Noel.

Then my sister told us to go to the gift shop, so my daughter could pick out a souvenir, but the building closed at 11 pm. From there, across the street to Trattoria Dell’Arte, which was fabulous. Lots of hours oeuvres, enough to fill one up, and wonderful service.

We took a cab back to the apartment, where my sister gave my daughter some presents. They all went to sleep at some point, but I didn’t because my daughter and I needed to take a 7:15 train back to ALB, and I got anxious. We took an Uber to Penn Station, got food, and took the train home. I’m told I fell asleep for a time.

My wife picked us up and took my daughter to school for her last day, then took me home, where I slept for four hours.

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