Texas Winter Tour: Texas School for the Visually Blind and Impaired, Day 7

Here’s a quick update from our previous couple days of tour (the backlog of which should be posted without the next day).

Tuesday began with an early workshop at St. John’s United Methodist Church, where the combined choirs did singing exercises to warm up tired voices before polishing some music to be sung over the next several days. That meeting however, transitioned into an incredible opportunity to workshop with the renowned composer and conductor, Craig Hella Johnson, whose work, “Stray Birds,” featured prominently in Glee Club repertoire over the past semester. Craig’s charisma and kindness were present as he began the session with a poem speaking to the tremendous beauty of individuality.

Gleeks look on as Craig delves into a piece by Daniel Gawthrop. pc Dhilan Ramaprasad ’21

Gleeks preformed “There is Sweet Music Here” by Daniel Gawthrop for Craig and spent the next several minutes working through how vowel shape can express emotion. After the workshop, singers had the opportunity to have lunch with Craig and singers in his group, Conspirare. The entire experience interacting with Craig and his singers will truly be one of the highlights of the tour, and HGC is extremely thankful for their time and advice.

From St. John’s, HGC traveled to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, an institution dedicated to helping educate those with visual disabilities throughout the state with students often staying there for the entire week before traveling for return home to their families each weekend. Singers were warmly and enthusiastically received by the crowd and had the opportunity to share some of their favorite pieces from the repertoire over the fifty minutes we had before taking some audience questions. Gleeks left feeling as if they had gaimed more from the students they met there than imparted.

HGC finished the day with a dinner graciously provided by the family of Harry Sage ‘22 in their home, followed by the traditional (or so I’m told) viewing of Mean Girls by the group.

-Jay Sastry ’22


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