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EMHS Choir goes to OSU

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EMHS Choir goes to OSU

OSU choral director Dr. Z. Randall Stroope and composer Jake Runestad
(photo provided)

OSU choral director Dr. Z. Randall Stroope and composer Jake Runestad (photo provided)

Photo Provided

OSU choral director Dr. Z. Randall Stroope and composer Jake Runestad (photo provided)

Photo Provided

Photo Provided

OSU choral director Dr. Z. Randall Stroope and composer Jake Runestad (photo provided)

Trey McCabe, Memorial Staff Writer

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Oct. 29, Edmond Memorial’s Varsity Mixed Choir participated with Oklahoma State Univeristy’s choral department in ‘I Will Lift Mine Eyes,’ a concert celebrating the works of renowned composer Jake Runestad. Memorial was invited to the event by Dr. Z. Randall Stroope, head of the choir department at OSU and well-respected composer in his own right, and sang alongside his Concert Chorale, Chamber Choir and University Singers.

“I prepared our students [for this concert] in the same manner that I always do,” said Varsity Mixed director Wes Singleton of the rehearsal phase. “We learned the literature through our sight-reading method, then rehearsed it during the men and women’s respective classes. We also rehearsed several times during tutorial to put it together.”

The literature in question was made up of two very different pieces of Runestad’s, one a moving, emotional song adapted from a poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar (“Goodnight, My Love”) and the other a lively dancehall track comprised of nonsense words and sounds (“Nyon Nyon”). Upon arriving in Stillwater with these two pieces in hand, the choir rehearsed with the composer himself, an opportunity not given to most students.

“Surprisingly, we didn’t drill every little detail like I expected,” senior Madison Leslie said. “Runestad set himself apart because he focused on the emotion behind the music, not just the mechanisms written on the page.”

Singleton was also very impressed by Runestad, praising his refined musicality.

“He is so skilled at such a  young age,” Singleton said. “He really uses text to develop the music, which I so admire.”

According to senior Sam Markmiller, working with Runestad was a valuable experience.

“I learned that there was so much more to composition than just notes and rhythm,” Markmiller said. “Runestad was able to give a reason that was abstract and emotional for every musical choice in the pieces.”

When it came time to perform the pieces, Singleton reported he was more than happy with the final result.

“It was incredible. Our students were able to take the suggestions from him in rehearsal and apply it during the final performance,” Singleton said. “I think it is an experience that many students never have the chance to experience.”

Contact Trey McCabe at [email protected].

 

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Trey McCabe, Memorial Staff Writer

Trey McCabe is a senior this year at Edmond Memorial, and this is his second year on staff at Ruff Draft. He has won two first-place awards at OSSA for...

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