Have you ever attended a musical or choral event and thought, “Wow, I wish I could do that”? Perhaps you felt so inspired after witnessing a performance and for a split second you thought, “I’m going to march right up on stage and join in on the fun!”
But, then suddenly you come to the realization that it’s probably best stick to your day job. A crowd of lucky people seized the opportunity to be an active part of a major choral concert and their experience is worth sharing.
On Sunday this past February, a concert event presented by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia took place at the First Baptist Church located in the “City of Brotherly Love.” However, this was no ordinary choral concert where people just sit in the audience listening quietly while a choir sings and instrumentalists play in the background. Members of the audience were provided with an opportunity to help make beautiful music along with the Mendelssohn Club.
This particular musical event was part of Audience inCHOIRing and the brainchild of Mr. Alan Harler, Artistic Director of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. Mr. Harler developed the concept of Audience inCHOIRing after the Mendelssohn Club’s 2009 season, when they performed a piece composed by David Lang that included choreography with the entire choir and a dance group. At one point during the concert, members of the audience were asked to stand up and move to another part of the concert hall area. Mr. Harler had a chance to witness all this commotion from his conductor stand and was inspired by what he saw as it seemed like the audience suddenly became involved in this musical production.
The Audience inCHOIRing event allowed individuals to learn various music styles and pieces like chants from Durufle’s Requiem, Leonard Bernstein’s The Lark, and the world premiere of a Rollo Dilworth commission, Rain Sequence. Mr. Harler’s idea is certainly a clever way to give a behind-the-scenes look at what happens with learning and rehearsing the songs to the point when everything comes together harmoniously, creating beautiful music like the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia does every time they present a concert. The Mendelssohn Club has started a very innovative trend and perhaps they’ll present more Audience inCHOIRing concerts in the future. Will other music groups follow suit and incorporate audience participation within their performances? Surely, time will tell!