Chorale takes on Elijah Addie Bryant Staff Reporter For the past four years, Lakota West’s Chorale has gone above and beyond the capabilities of most high school choirs by taking on the challenge of singing large choral works. Director, Anthony Nims, was always told that giving a high school choir this level of music would be crazy, but he proceeded with the idea knowing that the reward would be great. Their first attempt at a large work was Haydn’s Creation, an oratorio based on the Biblical creation of the world (from the Book of Genesis). And since then, Nims has given the choir more and more challenging large works. Last year, they took on Brahm’s Ein deutsches Requiem, an emotion work that dealt with death and the pain of losing someone. And finally, this year, the group was challenged to learn and sing Felix Mendelssohn’s oratroio, Elijah. Elijah is an orotorio which is basically a mix between a large choral work and an opera. There are distinct characters that play specific parts, but there are no costums, minimal acting, and no staging. The story the oratorio is based off of is the story of the prophet Elijah, in the Bible. (Kings 1 and 2, Old Testament) The work was very popular from the beginning because of it’s exciting music and text about everything from praising God to revenge againt the false god. Audienceses were never bored with Mendelssohn‘s masterpiece. Mr. Nims made the choice to have his chorale sing Elijah after seeing a great
performance of it this summer. For the rest of the summer, Mr. Nims spent his free time annylyzing the work, studying each vocal part, and making sure it was possible for a high school choir to sing the large work. For Chorale, learning Elijah was a workout. They were introduced to the piece in the very beginning of the school year and continued to work on it for a total of eight months. Learning Elijah consisted of what seemed to be endless hours of count singing, solfedging, and drilling notes into their memories. “Even though learning the music was tedious and all the repitition of the movements seemed annoying and stressful at times, I think we all agreed it added to the experience.” said base, Nick McGill. And after learning all the correct notes, they worked for about a month to make sure everything was just right. At times, it seemed like they would never learn the entire two hour work, but in the end, all the work and time they put into everyting was a reward for everyone. “I felt really accomplished. It was crazy how a group of high school students could
pull together and be dedicated enough to pull off a two hour, large work that some colleges can’t even do. It was an amazing memory that I personally, will never forget. And I am thankful for everyones hard work that helped to make it a wonderful experience.“ said soprano, Alexis Blevins. In the end, chorale’s performance of Elijah was beyond what anyone had expected it to be, complete with professional soloists to sing the main roles and a total of three hundred and fifty audience members at opening night. During these eight months of hard work with learning Mendelssohn’s masterpiece, Chorale still found time to sing with the Cincinnati Brass Band, get superier ratings at both district and state contest, and make a trip to New York City over spring break. Needless to say, Lakota West Chorale had a very eventful and sucessful year.