Shawnee Mission East Choraliers
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The Shawnee Mission East Choraliers are a mixed chorus of more than 150 student singers, grades 10-12, at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas. The choir has performed in churches, cathedrals, schools, recitals and concert halls throughout Europe, singing from Galway to Rome and Leipzig to London. The choir has performed at Carnegie Hall, Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany, Great St. Mary's Cathedral in Cambridge, the Pantheon and at the Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Lutheran Church), a church in Leipzig, Germany where Johann Sebastian Bach held the position of cantor.
The SME Choraliers perform a varied repertoire of early, classical, and contemporary music in numerous engagements, often with professional soloists and with festival and symphonic Orchestras. The mixed chorus is the parent organization of four additional ensembles: Chamber Singers, the most selective ensemble made up of 24 singers; Varsity Choir, a men's chorus; Chansonettes, a women's chorale; and the Concert Choir, the novice choir made up of mainly underclassmen.
History of Directors
Originating in 1958, the year that SME opened, the choraliers have always been a treasured asset to the SME community. Originally under the direction of Mr. Jess Rose, the choral department was handed over to Daniel Zollars in 1970. Mr. Zollars became quite famous in the community for being not only the SME choral director but also a key varsity football coach. After impacting the lives of thousands throughout his amazing career, Mr. Zollars retired from teaching in 1993. Finding a replacement for Mr. Zollars did not prove to be an easy task. It was no secret that whoever was hired as the SME choral director had some gigantic shoes to fill. Eventually, the administration hired Rika Heruth to fill the position. A very talented musician and soloist, Ms. Heruth seemed to take the SME choral department in a very different direction. While nothing Ms. Heruth did was wrong or bad per se, the members of the community felt rather unsure about her changing the methods that had worked so well in the past and producing a less choral sound than they had been used to. In 1997-98, Ms. Heruth resigned from the position of choral director at Shawnee Mission East and was replaced by Tracy S. Resseguie who, after an 11-year tenure, left Shawnee Mission East after the 07-08 school year. Since the fall of 2008, the SME Choral Department has been under the direction of Ken Foley, who has taken the department in a completely different direction.
Europe has been a recurring tour destination of the Choraliers since 2000. In 2001, the Choraliers embarked on a 10-day tour of Italy, performing in several magnificent venues, including the Pantheon, the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome, the Rotterdam Conservatory in Florence, the San Marco Basilica in Venice, and at a special mass of Lent in the St. Ambrose Basilica in Milan. In 2004, after being selected to perform as part of the annual, week-long celebration of J.S. Bach, 110 Choraliers experienced their second international tour performing all over England, Belgium, and Germany. Highlighting performances included concerts at St. Thomas-Kirche in Leipzig, St. Mary’s Cathedral in Cambridge, and an invitational concert at the home of J.S. Bach in Eisenach, followed by an afternoon performance in St. George Cathedral.
The 2005-2006 school year was an extremely busy time for the SME Choral Department. In the early stages of the fall of 2006, the choraliers received word that they had been selected among thousands of choirs from 5 different states to perform a solo concert at the Southwest American Choral Director's Association convention in St. Louis, Missouri. Immediately following the performance at Southwest ACDA, the Choraliers flew to Ireland for their third international ten-day tour, performing in several venues in Galway, Killarney, and Shannon concluding with a performance in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.
During the 2009-2010 school year, Choraliers took a trip singing in cathedrals in Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague.
For 2012, the Choraliers will once again be traveling to Italy, touring and singing in Venice, Florence, and Rome.
Over the past ten years, the choirs of SME have performed numerous choral masterworks and have had the privilege to work with many different professional symphony orchestras. Some of the most notable recent performances include:
Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna performed with the Kansas City Symphony in 2004 and the New England Philharmonic in 2007
G.F. Handel’s The Messiah performed with Kansas University's Instrumental Collegium Musicum
John Rutter’s Gloria performed with the Kansas Brass Quintet
Arise Shine, a world premiere performance in Carnegie Hall, featuring the works of Dan Forrest performed with the New England Philharmonic.
A highlight of the 2004-2005 school year was working in concert with the Kansas City Wind Symphony, performing Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Mr. Resseguie directed the Symphony and students from all five of his choirs, grades 9-12, who gave an outstanding performance at Johnson County Community College’s beautiful Yardley Hall. SME Choir members have also performed several other masterworks within recent years, such as the John Rutter Requiem and Missa Kenya by Paul Basler.
The 2008-2009 school year featured a trip to Nashville with a recording and appearance with Sheryl Crowe.
2007 New York Tour
By Morten Lauridsen
Arise, Shine! (world premiere)
By Daniel Forrest
2006 Southwest ACDA Concert
By David Mooney
Leonardo Dreams Of His Flying Machine
By Eric Whitacre
Soloists: Carrie Barker, Cailan O'Grady, and Jonathan B. Lerner
By Paul Tucker
Original manuscript written specifically for the Southwest American Choral Directors Association and Choraliers.
Amor De Mi Alma
Music By Z. Randall Stroope
Text By Gracilaso de la Vega
My Soul's Been Anchored In The Lord
Arr. by Moses Hogan
2006 Ireland Tour Music
Arr. by Bob Chilcott
Mass in G Minor: I. Kyrie
By R. Vaughan Williams
By John Leavitt
Original manuscript written in memory of Ronnie Resseguie (sister of Tracy Resseguie) VII Movement of John Leavitt's Requiem.
O Magnum Mysterium
Music By Morten Lauridsen
I Like For You To Be Still
By Robert Pherigo
Specifically for the Southwest American Choral Directors Association and Choraliers.
Lobet den Herrn from Singet dern Herrn nein neus
Lied JS Bach 3:34 Edition Peters No. 6101
In contrast to the classical music that the choral department focuses on throughout the year, the choral students of SME always ended their academic year with an extravagant production entitled Blue Moon. It has been known to last at least three hours. The purpose of Blue Moon was to celebrate the SME choral music program and the commitment to the choir that the students, particularly the seniors, had shown throughout their respective school years and throughout their entire high school careers. The show was rehearsed, put together and performed all within the very last few weeks of school. Each choir performed a group of numbers from a Broadway show complete with costuming, staging, choreography and a pit orchestra. In between each choir's big production were solo and/or ensemble numbers performed by students who had auditioned. With the departure of Tracy Resseguie after the 2007-2008 school year, the tradition of Blue Moon at Shawnee Mission East came to an end. The official last production took place in May 2008.
With the arrival of Ken Foley as director, the Choraliers still put on an end-of-the-year show, though not nearly as extravagant as Blue Moon. The theme of the events are usually specific musical categories and/or time periods, such as Jazz, Pop, an 80's. The theme for the 2012 event will be Motown.
Honors and awards
- New York Tour:
Southwest American Choral Directors' Association selection
- Ireland Tour:
University of Galway Cathedral
St. Mary's Cathedral
St. Patricks Day Parade, Dublin
St. Patricks Cathedral
King John's Castle
Kansas Music Educators' Association Convention selection
- Europe Tour:
Southwark Cathedral, London (March 14)
Great St. Mary's Cathedral, Cambridge(March 15)
Great Place Square, Brussels(March 16)
Deutschhausekirche, Wurzburg(March 18)
Cologne Cathedral, Cologne(March 17)
St. Thomas Kirche, Leipzig
Bachhaus, Eisenach(March 21) St. Eisenach
St. George Church
Buchenwald concentration camp
Carmina Burana Performance with Kansas Wind Ensemble (Fall)
Winter Park Ski Music Festival Grand Champion Choir
Kansas Governor's inauguration ceremony
Kansas Music Educators' Association Convention selection
- Italy Tour(Spring):
St. Mary Major Basilica by Cardinal invitation
St. Mark's, Venice
Cathedral Duomo, Florence
Scheduled concert in Florence Hall
St. Croix Church, Italy
Verona Square, Verona
Venice Square, Venice
American Choral Director's Association, Southwest Region. "2006 SWACDA Convention". Retrieved 2007-08-08.
Forrest, Daniel. "The Music of Dan Forrest". Retrieved 2007-08-08.
The Kansas City Star, School Notes. "A Thurber Carnival-Shawnee Mission School Notes". Retrieved 2007-08-08.[dead link]
Lawrence Journal, Arts Notes. "KU instrumentalists to perform with choir". Retrieved 2007-08-08.
Moser, Joy. "The Adjutant General's Department". Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-08-10.