Dayton-area high school choirs featured in holiday concert at Schuster Center

The choirs of Miami East High School and Stivers School for the Arts will be featured in the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance’s presentation of “Hometown Holiday” tonight and Saturday at the Schuster Center.

As part of the Community Chorus, which also features members of area church choirs, the students will perform selections including Choplin’s “Unto Us a Child is Born,” Whitacre’s “Glow” and Leontovych’s “Carol of the Bells.” The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will be led by associate conductor Patrick Reynolds.

“It’s an honor to be able to perform with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and we have had such a great time preparing for this (concert),” said Paula Powell, director of choirs at Stivers School for the Arts. “The Schuster Center is Dayton’s premier venue. It gives the students a sense of being in a real professional setting.”

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In her 13th year as director, Powell says she continues to enjoy instilling important lessons that stretch beyond music such as collaboration and teamwork.

“Being in a musical ensemble teaches you a lot about life and being with people you don’t necessarily know very well to come together for a common purpose – which is to make music,” she said. “The students learn about camaraderie and professionalism. Musically, I try to instill in them a sense of musicality, the idea that you just don’t sing notes and rhythm. Their job is to make something beautiful and move people.”

Omar Lozano, a bassoonist in the Lima Symphony Orchestra who has substituted with the Dayton Philharmonic, has led the Miami East Choir since 2009. In addition to building the choir program through the years, especially providing a bridge from junior high to high school in terms of sectional expectations, he values synchronization.

“Our goal is to be in sync, to sound like one person rather than individual voices,” said Lozano. “Harmony and blending also helps to produce a perfect, pure sound.”

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Having particularly introduced “Glow” to his students, Lozano is grateful for the opportunity to have his choir join the DPO for such a meaningful concert.

“Some of my students have never performed on stage with an orchestra before,” he said. “It’s so neat to be able to see their excitement, especially on the Schuster Center stage. I hope my students take away from this experience how wonderful it was to come together and make beautiful music.”

HOW TO GO

What: “Hometown Holiday featuring Amahl and the Night Visitors”

Where: Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton

When: Dec. 2-3; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Cost: $5-$85

Tickets: Call 937-228-3630 or visit daytonperformingarts.org

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