Choirs Commission Composer to Unite Them in Song; World Premiere Performance on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Thousands of public and private high school music programs throughout the country were forced to close and cancel capstone events due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

A "virtual choir" of over 200 students from five high schools coast to coast -- including Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School -- took part in the creation of the new work.  During the month of April, the students learned and recorded their parts in their own homes, and the individual tracks were assembled for a virtual performance set for a world premiere online on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at 12:00 Noon.

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The Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Select Choir, under the direction of SPFHS Choral Director, Jan Allen, with the support of the SPF Music Boosters, had the opportunity to take part in a musical collaboration with composer Michael John Trotta as part of a virtual choir premiering his new work, "You Are My Refuge."

"We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in such a special collaboration with Michael Trotta and the other high school choirs from around the U.S.," Mrs. Allen said. "This is a powerful message about how music is able to unite us despite boundaries, define our sense of purpose, and allow us to process our complex emotions during this trying time in a way that is truly healing to the spirit."

Trotta's work was written specifically in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the impact it has had on high school music programs in the United States.

Carnegie Hall Choirs Reunite for Encore Performance Virtually

One year ago, high school choirs from Oak Park, CA, (director Heidi Cissell), and Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School (director Jan Allen), sang in the Carnegie Hall premiere of “Gloria” under the baton of composer Michael John Trotta. For this year's project, these choirs were virtually reunited with each other and the composer, and joined by three other high schools in Calabasas, CA (director Joshua Barroll); Agoura Hills, CA (director Caroline Beal); and Central Regional High School in Bayville, NJ (director Beth Moore).

“I wanted to find an alternate experience for our students, one that they would always remember and cherish as being their own,” said Heidi Cissel.

“It is a wonderful reminder of the power of music to overcome obstacles and bring people together,” said composer Michael John Trotta.

Fueled by a passion to share new music that engages conductors, ensembles, and audiences alike, Michael John Trotta has quickly become one of the most“exciting and prominent new composers of choral music. Drawing on his experience as a conductor and clinician, he brings artistry and excellence within reach for thousands of musicians each year. From Carnegie Hall to classrooms all over the world, Trotta’s unique blend of engaging and artistic music creates opportunities to experience new music and empowers individuals to realize their artistic potential.”

Here is the link to world premiere of video, takes place on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at 12:00 Noon (EDT).