The St. Thomas Chamber Singers performed a farewell concert Tuesday night at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The group leaves Wednesday morning for Chicago to perform two concerts at the American Choral Directors Association convention, a bi-annual event that runs March 9-12. Only five college or university choirs are invited to perform at the convention.
“We’ve compared it to winning the World Series for choirs,” choir director Angela Broeker said. “The University of St. Thomas choirs are known regionally. This is the first opportunity to be on a national stage.”
Tuesday night served as the final dress rehearsal for the choir members before they leave to perform in front of thousands of choir directors. The group found out it was selected from more than 75 auditioning choirs last June, which means its two performances Thursday will be almost a year in the making.
“We do [think we’re ready],” Broeker said. “I think we’re peaking at just the right time.”
After being invited to perform at a regional ACDA convention in 2008, Broeker said she wasn’t sure if one of her choirs would ever make the final step to the national convention.
“I couldn’t believe it [when I found out],” she said. “It’s been thrilling and frightening, exhilarating, death-defying and wonderful all wrapped up into one.”
The choir’s first performance is Thursday morning at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, and its second performance is in the evening at Roosevelt Auditorium in downtown Chicago.
“It’s a great feeling,” senior Tom Kreitzer said. “The group we have is just phenomenal.”
Each concert in Chicago is set to last 25 minutes and will feature six songs. The choir performed the concert in its entirety Tuesday night, covering songs in French, Italian, Lithuanian, Spanish and English.
“It’s been a lot of work. We didn’t know any of the foreign languages,” Kreitzer said. “Learning the Lithuanian was kind of tough.”
The sole song in English gave the choir a break from foreign linguistics and gave the Show’d Up Band, made up of St. Thomas faculty and staff, a chance to play with the singers. Swimming coach Tom Hodgson, Bob Douglas, coordinator of recycling and central receiving, and Joe Kreitzer, associate vice president of academic affairs, all provided music for the concert’s final song, “Down in the River,” which was arranged by Broeker’s husband.
“This was really Angie (Broeker’s) request,” Hodgson said. “She just loved the bluegrass idea and was looking for a song that the choir could really showcase.”
The Broekers aren’t the only relatives taking advantage of the collaboration. Joe Kreitzer from the Show’d Up Band is choir senior Tom Kreitzer’s father.
“It’s kind of a weird feeling to be playing with my dad and have him playing with us,” Tom Kreitzer said. “It’s kind of odd but pretty cool.”
Tom Kreitzer said the Show’d Up Band has been playing with the Chamber Singers for the last three years, and Hodgson said the band appreciates the relationship.
“It’s a fun connection,” he said. “They’re wonderful kids, and very respectful, and we just love playing with them.”
Jordan Osterman can be reached at email@example.com.