Choir students work with renowned composer

Seniors Alicia Babich and Catherine Lee pose with renowned composed Eric Whitacre.
Seniors Alicia Babich and Catherine Lee pose with renowned composed Eric Whitacre.

By Khrystyna Halatyma
Staff Writer
Eric Whitacre, a famous composer, conductor and best seller of over 1 million copies of sheet music worldwide, chose 40 students from Prospect’s Honors Choir to be part of the “Choir of Angels” in his musical, “Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings.” After practicing for three days, the choir performed for about 300 to 400 people on Tuesday, March 8 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago.
Rehearsals lasted for an average of six to nine hours a day at the Swiss Hotel in Chicago. Among Prospect’s choir students there were also students chosen from Catawba College in North Carolina, Lincoln Way Central High School and Marquette College.
“Personally, [Whitacre]  just blew me away with the way he acted with us,” senior Catherine Lee said. “He was just so down to earth [and] so laid back.”
Working with Whitacre was a new experience for Lee and senior Sam Callahan. The practices were much more fast-paced than their usual choir rehearsals. Instead of focusing on rhythms and notes, Whitacre focused on stylistic details. He also blended the choirs together because they had never sung together before.
“Whitacre was just changing like simple things that normally, I feel like high schoolers would totally freak out about,” Lee said. “He changed something [about the music] and they’re like, ‘All right, that sounds good.'”

Callahan, who is considering a music career in her future, said that it was cool to work with different directors and how they lead the choir and to perform with people who get to perform regularly in Broadway productions.

Overall, Lee and Callahan agreed that it was a really unique experience and was definitely worth all of the hard work. 
“We’re clearly not Broadway singers or performers,” Lee said. “It was cool getting to perform with people who do get to perform in Brodway or professional productions.”