Grammy-winning vocal ensemble visits high school
Posted on 03/02/2017

The internationally acclaimed jazz vocal group New York Voices (NYV) visited McMinnville High School (MHS) to perform a show and host a clinic.  The clinic was offered to the Twilighters and Symphonic Choir members and included feedback and professional advice on performance techniques.

The Grammy-winning foursome, Peter Eldridge, Darmon Meader, Kim Nazarian and Lauren Kinhan, have been performing together for 25 years and include high school and college clinics and workshops with their performance and recording schedule.

“There are no words to express the profound effect of the New York Voices ‘experience’ on the students,” said MHS choral director Dana Libonati. “To have a Grammy-winning ensemble work with our students and perform a concert in our auditorium was amazing in many ways. 

“This group performs all over the world with such greats as the Count Basie Band, the Boston Pops, the Los Angeles Symphony and many more.  This was a unique experience for our students.

“The NYV provided a clinic to the Twilighters in the afternoon, and the Symphonic Choir got to watch.  They are outstanding educators and provided our students with methods to improve their already outstanding performance.

“Kim Nazarian asked each Twilighter to individually sing his or her part on a specific phrase, with the intent of adding more energy to the phrase.  It was a scary moment for the students, but it had the desired effect. 

“In the evening, the Twilighters opened the concert by performing three songs, and their performance was inspired.  After that the NYV performed a 90-minute concert to a sold-out auditorium. 

“Words can't sufficiently describe the impact of this performance on our students – they were overwhelmed. It was an experience that they will remember for years to come.  It was also a remarkable experience for our community. We don't often have musicians of this caliber in our small community.”

The event was provided through partial funding from the William, Wayne, and Mel Rutherford Gift, in honor of John C. McManus, Distinguished Oregon Music Educator.