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Five Michigan community colleges joined the GRCC Concert Choir on Wednesday during the Michigan Community College Choral Festival

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GRCC Concert Choir performs during the Michigan Community College Choral Festival on November 7, 2018 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Lillian Linscott/The Collegiate)

By Lillian Linscott

The Grand Rapids Community College Concert Choir performed during the Michigan Community College Choral Festival on Wed., Nov. 7.

Each college choir in attendance sang two songs individually and came together at the end to sing three more. The audience and the choir members waiting to perform showed support by dancing in their seats, applauding vigorously and cheering.

“I was in complete awe,” said Amy Weissenborn, a GRCC student in attendance. “I love coming to these (shows) and loving on my friends in the choir. It’s amazing hearing others from other colleges and how amazing they are.”

The groups spent the morning in preparation, singing three songs together that they had only practiced separately until that day. Sopranist Emilio Rodriguez, 19, enjoyed performing with his fellow singers.

“Other than hearing each other as a group, it was great to hear everyone separate and individual and what their directors are working (on) with them, because I know every director is different and they push for different things, and it was great to hear that,” Rodriguez said. “Then when we came together as a group, it obviously showed. With the great directors, we can do anything.”

After the performance, Kelly Chaffee, 41, was eager to share her excitement and pride in her daughter, Hailey Cone, who is part of the GRCC Concert Choir.

“I’ve been listening to my daughter at high school choirs and such and it is so exciting to hear her at this level,” Chaffee said. “I get goosebumps every single time.”

At the end of the performance, Stephen Barton, director of choral music at GRCC, thanked all who attended and spoke of the unity required to make the production possible.

“It’s sort of a little metaphor for life isn’t it? That all of us who come with all of our differences, from all of our places in the world and all of our backgrounds, but music can galvanize us into doing something quite beautiful and wonderful together,” Barton said. “There is a wonderful sense that you are doing right by the world by working with these young people and helping them to create something beautiful.”

Barton and his students hope to raise awareness of these concerts so they can share their music with others.

“You’re missing out,” said choir member Jordan Malone. “It’s such a small intimate group in a way, but the things that we do is something so unifying in a day like today where we need something this unifying and this peaceful, you know, where we can come together with people that we don’t know and make something beautiful….join us.”

The GRCC Concert Choir has two more performances scheduled this semester. “Songs for the Holidays” will be on Dec. 2, and they will sing with a brass ensemble on Dec. 17. Follow this link for the full music performance calendar. Admittance is free with a current RaiderCard.

To watch the entire performance, click here.

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