Music
April 5, 2013 • 01:27:33 p.m.

Award-winning group New York Voices coming to St. Charles North High School

By ERIC SCHELKOPF - eschelkopf@shawmedia.com

For the fourth straight year, high school and college vocal jazz groups from around the country will converge on St. Charles North High School on Saturday for the New York Jazz Festival. (morgueFile photo)

ST. CHARLES – For the fourth straight year, high school and college vocal jazz groups from around the country will converge on St. Charles North High School on Saturday for the New York Jazz Festival.

Several high schools and colleges, including St. Charles North High School, St. Charles East High School, Columbia College Chicago and Cal State University-Long Beach, will perform for each other and receive critiques by members of the Grammy Award-winning jazz vocal ensemble New York Voices.

New York Voices will also perform a concert that day at St. Charles North High School that is open to the public. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. with an opening set by the St. Charles Vocal Jazz Workshop.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students, available at www.NYV2013.eventbrite.com.

St. Charles North High School student Hannah Ressinger said the event has helped her grow.

“There’s a lot of camaraderie between the schools,” she said. “You are connected by the music. The members of New York Voices always have awesome critiques to give. Their critiques change a lot of your approach to the song and your performance.”

New York Voices founding member Darmon Meader hopes their critiques help the students in many ways.

“Even for those who are not going on into music, I think that the skills and experiences they have at the high school level in getting to do these kinds of things help shape them as young adults and helps shape their sense of what is out there in the arts and provide a slightly more expanded view of what is going on in the world,” Meader said.

Meader, who also teaches at the Manhattan School of Music part time, said he has seen some of the students go on and perform professionally.

“A few of them are going on to performing, or a lot of them go on into music education, which we are also very supportive of,” he said.

New York Voices is celebrating its 25th anniversary amid a renewed interest in vocal groups. Meader attributed some of that renewed interest to TV shows like “Glee.”

“I would certainly say that shows like ‘Glee’ and ‘The Sing Off’ probably have helped,” he said. “If you widen the genre to sort of include a capella groups and things like that and more pop-based groups, then definitely I would say that’s true.”

Meader, who also plays the saxophone, didn’t plan on forming a vocal group after graduating from college.

“When I came out of college, I thought I was going into instrumental jazz, primarily,” he said. “I enjoyed singing, but I never really thought of it as a career direction.

“In college, I got interested in this genre of vocal jazz group singing. Probably one of the ones I listened to the most was the group Manhattan Transfer, which is still around, and other groups that go back a little further historically, such as The Singers Unlimited.”

Meader has fallen in love with the genre.

“I just love the sound and the way it blends and the fact that you are combining the harmony of instrumental jazz with the energy of lyrics and the voice,” he said.


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