Heritage Choir Performs in Washington, D.C.

May. 21, 2013 - by Carol Best

Unique Opportunity for Heritage Choir in D.C.  by Rachel Phelps

May 23, 2013
MNU-Choir-At-Festival

While the majority of MNU’s class of 2013 was gathered on campus for commencement, two graduates were wrapping up a choir rehearsal in Washington, D.C. It may seem like a big moment to give up for a choir trip, but the seniors have no regrets.

“Spending graduation day in D.C. was definitely the right decision,” said graduating senior music education major Hannah Lukehart as the National Capitol Festival Chorus took their seats before the May 13th concert.

Her comment came at the end of a whirlwind weekend of rehearsals, singing and sightseeing in the nation’s Capitol. Lukehart was one of a group of 20 in Heritage Choir from MidAmerica Nazarene University who performed at the National Capitol Choir Festival in Washington D.C., May 11-13. The group performed at two national monuments and in an evening concert at National City Christian Church. The 17 students and three alumni were invited to the festival through MNU choral conductor Dr. John Leavitt, who was the artistic director of the festival.

“I am invited to conduct at choral festivals every year,” says Leavitt, adding that this is his fourth festival in D.C. “This is the second time I’ve been able to include the MNU choirs, and the first time I could bring my own accompanist.”

Four choirs participated in the festival by invitation, including Newman University Troubadours of Wichita, Kan., Trinity Lutheran Church Senior Choir of Leavenworth, Kan., and The Celebration Singers of Cranford, NJ. The chorus was comprised of 80 voices, giving MNU students a chance to interact with a diverse group of other musicians.

“As a singer, it was nice to get to sit by people  I didn't know because it caused me to listen differently and just added a different element to singing,” says senior music education major Melissa Whitehead.

Whitehead had another unique opportunity at the festival. She and senior Reggan Reynolds conducted the festival chorus during performances at the World War II Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial May 11. Leavitt didn’t tell either of them that they would be doing this until they had arrived at the World War II Memorial, though they had conducted during rehearsal that morning.

Reggan Reynolds Conducts At WWII Mem WebReggan Reynolds Conducts At WWII Memorial

“When we were at the monuments and (Leavitt) pointed at me, my heart stopped for a second,” Whitehead says. “But then I put the nerves behind me and thought of how I would never get this opportunity again so I needed to live it up.”

Whitehead said the outdoor environment of the memorial was a challenge, as people were walking by, and noise from airplanes and vehicles added distractions.

“Conducting was stupendous. I cannot describe my heart’s gratefulness. It was such a great learning experience and was awesome to be thrown into such a vulnerable moment, and running full throttle,” says Reynolds.

A group of World War II veterans were visiting the memorial when the choir sang, and Leavitt said several of them thanked him for the music they provided.

“This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to conduct at the monuments, and I received a number of compliments from those who listened,” says Leavitt. “I hope it’s a memorable experience for the choir members as well.”

The mini-concerts at the monuments Saturday and the daily rehearsals culminated in a concert at National City Christian Church. Aside from numbers performed by the full chorus, both MNU’s Heritage Choir and the Newman University Troubadours had individual sets. MNU junior music major Sean Hephner played Prelude pour le piano by Claude Debussy as a solo piano piece.

National City Christian Church WebNational City Christian Church Site of Festival Concert

As well as performances Leavitt said the focus of the trip was on building relationships within the choir throughout the weekend. Reynolds said meeting new people and deepening her relationships with other singers from MNU was her favorite part of the trip.

“I had the privilege to bond with many others that I would not have had the chance to had it not been for this festival. I love that the Lord brought us together through our passion for singing, and I met some astounding people,” says Reynolds.

Click here to learn more about MNU Fine and Performing Arts

Right Rail Content
 

MNU News

Sunday, April 19
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
3D Car
MNU Awarded 3D Printers for Mabee Library

MNU Awarded 3D Printers for Mabee Library

MNU is the recent recipient of an in-kind grant of four 3D System “CUBE” printers, which will create a MakerSpace in Mabee Library. Pictured…

Read More
Pres Honors Stage
2015 President’s Honors Breaks Record

2015 President’s Honors Breaks Record

The fourth annual President’s Honors was a memorable night honoring individuals to whom the very existence of the university is owed. President David Spittal bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award…

Read More
Blake Gold Brain
Blake Claims 7X7 Award

Blake Claims 7X7 Award

Tyler Blake, PhD, professor of English, and 1988 MNU grad, claimed the coveted Golden Brain Award at last week's 7X7 Challenge during MNU's second annual Week of Scholarship.  Blake's…

Read More
CD-Cover-Art
Choirs to Debut New CD at Concert

Choirs to Debut New CD at Concert

The Department of Fine and Performing Arts will debut their CD, On With the Show, at their annual pops concert Sunday, April 19 at 3:30 p.m. in Bell Cultural Events Center. The CD was recorded…

Read More
Presidents-1-2
Presidents On Campus for Gala

Presidents On Campus for Gala

On campus to attend President's Honors tonight are four of MNU's presidents. Enjoying the weather on the Campus Mall are current President David Spittal and past presidents Dr. Ed Robinson, Dr. Don…

Read More
Najarian from Outcomes Pub
MNU Alum Olathe Veterinarian Dr. Lisa Najarian

MNU Alum Olathe Veterinarian Dr. Lisa Najarian

It didn’t take holding down a lioness during surgery for Lisa Najarian, Biology Major ’07, to be affirmed in her calling. Usually it comes just…

Read More
Cunninghams LifetimeAchievementAward PH15
MNU Awards Lifetime Achievement to Drs. Paul G. and Connie R. Cunningham

MNU Awards Lifetime Achievement to Drs. Paul G. and Connie R. Cunningham

MNU will honor Drs. Paul G. and Connie R. Cunningham with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 President’s Honors April 10 in Cook Center at…

Read More
AcademicIcon
New Agreement Will Result in More Earned Degrees

New Agreement Will Result in More Earned Degrees

The Kansas Association of Community College Trustees (KACCT) and the Kansas Independent College Association (KICA), of which MNU is a member,…

Read More
WoSBanner
Week of Scholarship April 7-10

Week of Scholarship April 7-10

MNU’s second annual Week of Scholarship is April 7 through 10, 2015, and highlights student and faculty achievement at MNU. The public is encouraged to attend and most events are free of…

Read More
Sports
Pearcy's No-No Highlights Sweep

Pearcy's No-No Highlights Sweep

Taylor Pearcy's no-hitter in Game 2 completed an exciting sweep of Peru State on Friday...(click title for more)

 
Spring Game Slated for Saturday, April 25

Spring Game Slated for Saturday, April 25

Coach Brian Willmer and the 2014 HAAC Champs have announced the date for the Spring Game...(click title for more)

 
MNU Ranked #9 in NAIA Spring Poll

MNU Ranked #9 in NAIA Spring Poll

Full story here

 
Latest Photos
Mr. Chad and Dr. Jeannie Williams hosted the evening's activities
A record crowd attended the 2015 President's Honors
President & Mrs. Spittal at MNU's 2015 President's Honors
Dr. Paul Cunningham, co-recipient of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dr. David Spittal
The extended Paul & Connie Cunningham family
Our 2015 President's Honors hosts, Mr. Chad & Dr. Jeannie Williams