Castleton State College music professor Glenn Giles had the recent honor of performing the Star-Spangled Banner with a best-of-the-best chorus at a John F. Kennedy tribute in Dallas, Texas.
During the performance, 30 doves were released, which shocked Giles and his fellow performers who were never told about the explosion of birds.
“I had to keep performing, it was completely a surprise,” said Giles
Giles was in Dallas for the American Choral Directors Association. He was joined by students Haley Shahan, Juliette Iffland, Zac Shambo, Nick Masterson and Jessie Pierpont.
“I loved the experience,” said Masterson. “I was very excited to spend a week with not only the current choral conductors in the United States, but also the future of choral education.”
Every other year, 5,000 directors come together to perform songs by some of music’s great composers. This year it was music by John Rutter.
“Rutter is very well known in the choral world. He’s done a lot for music,” said Pierpot. “It was so amazing for Giles to be a part of that”.
Students were recommended to join ACDA by fellow music professor Sherrill Blodget, which gave them access to the event.
“We had the largest representation of choral students from Vermont,” Giles said “I’m proud that we represented this small school in such a big way,”
The audition process for Giles and other directors involved sending in an MP3 of their vocal range. Giles chose to record himself unaccompanied by an instrument to better show off his voice.
He was chosen as one of 26 basses from 22 states.
“It doesn’t matter who I’m singing with,” said Giles. “I love it and being at that level was amazing.”
It was only hours into his weeklong trip he discovered that he would be performing at the event honoring JFK.
“I prepared for Rutter and then this happened,” Giles said.
The honor came to Giles after government officials cancelled the originally scheduled performance of 40 military men because they had been deployed. The new chorus had only several hours to prepare.
“It was a once in a lifetimes experience, I still feel like I’m on a cloud,” Giles said.