Choir hits the road, dazzles audiences

The Castleton State Collegiate Chorale recently embarked on a tour took them across the northeast to spread their angelic voices and promote the college.The three-day excursion, from March 22 to March 24, took students all the way to Maine, with several stops in between.

Sophomore Joanna Cardillo said she loved the tour because it gave her a chance to get out and sing for others.

“The only problem I had was my name got misspelled on the program,” she said with a chuckle, before humming the tunes to some of the songs they sang.

Laura Olson, a freshman, said the tour was a lot different than performing at Castleton. Often there are only about 20 people who attend their performances at Castleton, but on this tour those numbers were much greater.

Jessica Koubek, from the Orion Performing Arts Center in Maine, raved about the choir’s performance. She said the singers had a strong connection with each other and it came out in the songs. Koubek’s favorite song was “Shine on me.”

Koubek said her students loved the high energy of the gospel selection. She also recalled being serenaded by the male ensemble, which she said “got” her real good.

Koubek also said her school’s choir had the opportunity to sing for Castleton students as well.

“They warmly received us, even though our performance was quite obviously a work in progress,” said Koubek.

Olson named “Love Train,” “The Requiem,” and “The Castleton Anthem” as just a few of the songs the choir performed throughout the tour.

They opened with the “Castleton Anthem” at each performance. They consider their theme song to be “The storm is passing over,” because it is about overcoming obstacles and the choir worked hard to get where it is, Olson said.

Olson recalled how the night before the last performance choir members all all sat in a circle and talked about what the tour experience meant to them and what each of them meant to each other, she said.

Cardillo echoed Olson’s comments, saying the tour did a lot to bring the choir closer together.

Elizabeth Blodgett, a freshman, got the exciting chance to be the tour coordinator this year.

She excitedly spoke about some of her fondest memories of the tour, like their performance of “Love Train”.

“The main line of the song is ‘people all over the world, join hands, start a love train.’ At one of the high schools we performed at, a whole bunch of the students got up joined hands and paraded around the gym. It was really exciting for the choir to see the students that into it,” said Blodgett.

Blodgett said she worked hard to help organize the tour, including finding host families to stay with, contacting each place they were performing at, and answering questions. It was hard work that paid off, she said.

Cardillo also spoke about all the hard work that the choir put into the tour.

“We were our own stage crew too, had to put everything up for the show, and put everything away,” she said

Ronald Sherwin, music professor at Castleton and conductor of the choir, was impressed with his students.

Sherwin talked about his choir being diverse and how many students weren’t even music majors. Many students, he said, joined choir for the love of music.

“The tour was to promote Castleton as well and try and recruit students,” said Sherwin.

Many schools that the chorale performed for had students interested in Castleton he said.

“We help them, they help us,” said Sherwin, raving about the college’s support for the tour and how the school gave them a 56-passenger bus to get from location to location.

But the touring isn’t over.

Cardillo said the next major stop is Carnegie Hall, in New York City this summer. It’s a performance members say they can’t wait for.

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