In February, the choir members will make their way to Salt Lake City by bus, where they will perform in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, home of the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The opportunity to sing there is a gift in itself. Built in the 1860’s, it was intended for sermons and conferences, but there were no microphones to amplify sound. The roof is constructed in an elliptical shape to address that problem. The sound coming from the pulpit is focused and projected to the far reaches of the room. Some believe it’s one of the most acoustically perfect buildings in the world.
Now that the moment of exhilaration has passed, reality has set in. The choir is already working hard to prepare for their performance. “You have to put your work in front of thousands of choral professionals, to be judged by some of the most skilled professionals in your field,” says Hall.
The strength of Hall’s preparation can be seen in the way she conducts her choir, and in the way the choir reacts to her. During a break in practice, the singers stand in small groups near their places. They talk to one another excitedly. One stands with her hip cocked, tossing a joke over her shoulder. Another group tells stories. There’s laughter, excitement, and energy bouncing around the room. But when Hall steps to the podium and raises her arms and chin expectantly, the room grows quiet. The singers return to their places; the energy transforms into steady focus.
The members of the A Cappella choir include sophomores, juniors and seniors. Trevor Wiley is a senior and the president of the choir. He’s been in A Cappella since he was a sophomore, and also sings in the school’s jazz and show choirs. Wiley had no idea they auditioned; it wasn’t until the choir council met at the beginning of the year that he learned the news. “She announced it by bringing in a cake. It was a very pleasant surprise,” says Wiley.
Though they work hard, Wiley enjoys it. “We take ourselves seriously, we know we have a lot of work to do, but we also have fun with it.” Working with Hall is another perk. “She’s high intensity. She likes to laugh, likes to have fun, but also makes sure the work gets done. And she cares a lot about everyone there.”
Taylor Luther feels the same way about singing in A Cappella. As a senior, she too contributed to the audition recordings that earned the choir’s spot at the ACDA conference. The group feels like family to her. “Everyone is there for each other,” she says. Unlike sports or drama, there’s never competition. Luther feels like everyone can participate and be themselves in A Capella. “It’s not just singing. You can stop worrying about whatever else is going on in your life and just be in that moment.”
It’s a given that Hall is thrilled about the opportunity, but the singers are just as excited. “Trips bring the group together. Being on the road helps us realize how grateful we should be for what we have, and how fast it’s passing us by,” says Wiley. Hall counts herself lucky to have the support of the community in funding the trip as well.
The choir’s theme song of the year is “Do Not Be Afraid,” and Hall has instructed her singers to dig deep to bring their personal experience to the song. It seems the A Cappella choir and their director are far from afraid. Hall’s dream is a big one, and she and her choir have already achieved success.
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