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X-Men are preparing the piece Cantate Domino for a Disney World Competition next week over Spring Break, and having the composer Dr. Alec Schumacker’s feedback would be invaluable to say the least! Thanks to Skype Dr. Stern was able to make this happen.
An active composer, Dr. Schumacker was awarded the Lee Kjelson Choral Commission for his work Flights of Hope in 2012. In 2008, he won the Robert G. Barrow Memorial Prize for Composition for his Mass on American Poets. His works have been performed across the country by prestigious groups such as the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the IMEA All-State Honors Men's Choir, the Symphony of the Americas, the University of Miami Frost Chorale, the University of Hawai‘i Chamber Singers, and the Berkshire Symphony.
Dr. Jeff Stern called Mr. Schumacker via Skype in Hawaii where he lives. The X-Men were a bit nervous as they began their performance of Cantate Domino for Dr. Schumacker, but quickly gained confidence singing their way through the work. Dr. Schumacker was gracious and helpful in his feedback to the group, congratulating them on their fine performance and offering some suggestions to improve the group’s performance, including adding intensity and aggressiveness to certain moments, and changing the dynamics throughout the piece. The students enthusiastically worked on a few of his suggestions for additional real-time feedback.
After the critique students were able to ask questions on all subjects including how Dr. Schumacker chose composing as a profession, whether he chooses major or minor to begin his compositions and what is he most proud of in his career. Dr. Schumacker commented that the group really made him think with their smart, insightful questions!
Thanks go out to Alec Schumacker for assisting our students and to Jeff Stern for arranging this opportunity. Say good luck to our X-Men if you see them before they compete at Disney World next week!
See a clip of their performance during the Skype session here: http://www.stxavier.org/cf_media/index.cfm?obj=9867