It's always a special moment when local performing arts groups, especially when they're community organizations, get the opportunity to perform in New York City. It's even more noteworthy when a group is invited back a second time in a year.
That's the pleasant situation in which Utah County's Wasatch Chorale has found itself.
Last year, it was invited to participate in a festival choir with members of other choral groups nationwide in a concert in Carnegie Hall. And now they've been invited back for an unprecendented second consecutive year.
"We're pretty excited to sing in New York two years in a row," Wasatch Chorale director Dyanne Riley told the Deseret News. "We're very pleased and we feel we're very prepared."
Before leaving for New York, the ensemble will give a preview concert Wednesday in Provo's Covey Center for the Arts that features John Rutter's "Requiem," the work that will be performed in Carnegie Hall. Also on Wednesday's all-Rutter program will be the Te Deum and a few shorter pieces: "A Gaelic Blessing," "O Clap Your Hands" and "Be Thou My Vision." The choir will be accompanied by pianist Larry Blackburn.
The entire Wasatch Chorale won't travel to New York, however. Only 41 singers from the 100-voice ensemble will make the trip. They will be joined by six students from the choral program at Utah Valley State College, where Riley is the director of choral activities.
In New York, the chorale will join nearly 200 singers from four other choirs in a performance of Rutter's Requiem, with the New England Symphonic Ensemble conducted by the composer. "This is so exciting for us to be able to sing it with John Rutter conducting," Riley said.
While in New York, the Wasatch Chorale is also scheduled to appear on CBS-TV's "The Early Show" May 27. When the Deseret News spoke with Riley, it hadn't been confirmed, but Riley was expecting it to occur. "The tour company that made the arrangements for us recommended us to the show, and they invited us to come. It was really kind of a surprise." For TV, the group plans to sing "O Clap Your Hands."
Riley is in her third season as the chorale's artistic director, after joining it the previous season as associate conductor. A native of California, Riley completed her undergraduate studies at San Diego State University before coming to Utah to study with Mack Wilberg and Ron Staheli at Brigham Young University, where she received her master's degree.
She said that one highlight of her career was conducting the women of the Tabernacle Choir for the 2002 Women's Worldwide Broadcast in the LDS Conference Center. "That was a wonderful opportunity."
Conducting and choral music are two things that Riley has enjoyed since she was a young girl. And she loves working with the Wasatch Chorale. "The people in the chorale come from all walks of life and from all age groups," she said. "We have college professors, attorneys and housewives. And what they all have in common is a love of singing."It's a very unifying force to sing in a choir. It brings you joy to do something together, and it's a real delight for me to work with them."
If you go . . .
What: Wasatch Chorale, Dyanne Riley, conductor
Where: Covey Center for the Arts, 425 W. Center, Provo
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
How much: $10 general admission, $8 senior citizens and students