While Chautauqua Institution is starting its week on “The Ethics of Dissent,” 90 high school students from all over New York state will come on the grounds to sing harmonies.
These high school students are participants of the New York State Summer School of the Arts School of Choral Studies at SUNY Fredonia. The program lasts for four weeks, and this weekend’s concert will kick off the last.
The students will sing choral music that includes classical works and pop tunes at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 22, in the Amphitheater.
According to Jared Berry, NYSSSA assistant director for administration, small ensemble, and musicianship, he sees students grow in their musicianship and see them become close after spending several weeks with one another.
As a musician himself who has experience teaching music theory, conducting choirs and working as a professional singer, Berry thinks there’s something “wholesome” about getting a group of people together to perform great works from all over the world and throughout time.
“There’s just something that really brings the wonderful connection of music and friendship in choral music that I personally have not been able to replicate in other ways,” Berry said.
This is because to Berry, sharing one’s own voice is a very personal thing.
“And to do so in a large group of people, you have to create your relationships of trust and willingness to grow together,” he said. These high school students also get the opportunity to grow through watching Chautauqua Opera Company’s dress rehearsals of Don Giovanni and Candide. They saw Don Giovanni’s dress rehearsal two weeks ago.
Chautauqua Opera Young Artist Patrick Shelton is a NYSSSA alumnus from 2007. During the break during rehearsal of Don Giovanni, Shelton came out to greet the high school students and did a Q-and-A session.
Berry said the students appreciate being able to see where Shelton is after 10 years.
On Sunday, many of the high school students will be visiting the Amphitheater for the second time.
“When the students first saw the Amphitheater for the first time to see Don Giovanni, they were in awe,” Berry said. “And I know that they are very much looking forward to their performance this coming Sunday.”