Waubonsie Valley Varsity Chamber Saturday, March 7, 2020 - 9:00am

This is a traditional isiXhosa piece from the country of South Africa. isiXhosa is one of 11 languages that are spoken in South Africa, used by about eighteen percent of the South African population. Michael Barrett is the conductor of choirs at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and specializes in arrangements having been performed through the country and abroad. Ralf Schmitt is renowned as an African choral music specialist who has a passion for the preservation of traditional South African folk music.

Ngob’umthatile umtwana wakho, uhlale nathi hololo helele

Indodana ka nkulunkulu bayi’bethelela holololo helelele

The Lord has taken his son who lived amongst us

The son of the Lord God was crucified.

Knut Nystedt (1915-2014) was a Norwegian orchestral and choral composer. Nystedt’s compositions for choir and vocal soloists are mainly based on texts from the Bible or sacred themes. Cry Out and Shout (arranged in 1955) is a sacred a cappella choral work composed for six voices (SSATTB). The text is adapted from Isaiah, Chapter 12.

Until his untimely death in 2003, Moses Hogan held an international reputation as one of the world’s leading contemporary directors and arrangers of the African-American spiritual. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Hogan’s early musical success was as an accomplished concert pianist. He studied at The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, and also studied at New York’s Julliard School of Music and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

“The Battle of Jericho” is extremely rhythmic in nature and the parts divide throughout, with men almost always in 4 parts and the women in 3-4 parts. This creates a very thick and dark texture and sound. The melodic line is usually found in the women’s voices with contrasting background figures in the men’s voices.

Though originally written for Choral Arts Northwest, this work has taken on a new life in light of the atrocities in Paris and Beirut in 2015. Jonathan Talberg, the conductor of the choir at Cal State Long Beach, led his singers in a performance during the memorial vigil for Nohemi Gonzalez, a Long Beach student who was killed in the Paris attacks. The day after the vigil, the choir was supposed to begin rehearsing holiday music; however, Jonathan felt that was not appropriate and wanted time for the singers to grieve this loss. So, at the beginning of rehearsal, he passed out a brand new piece of music (Let My Love Be Heard), rehearsed it, and then recorded it. It was posted on SoundCloud and shared in memory of Nohemi and as a plea for peace. Their musical offering is a powerful outpouring of grief but also a glimmer of light. I am honored that this piece, Let My Love Be Heard, has helped to provide hope in the darkness of our world. (Jake Runestad)

Sydney Guillaume, originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, came to the United States at the age of 11 speaking only French and Creole. After moving to Miami, he was part of the first graduating class of Coral Reef Senior High, a magnet school in Miami, where he continued his studies in piano, which began at age six. It was during his high school years that Sydney realized his passion for composing and decided to make music his career. At the University of Miami, he studied piano with Dr. Rosalina Sackstein, and composition with Dr. Robert Gower. Aspiring to write choral works, Sydney joined the prestigious University Chorale under the direction of Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe. This led to an invitation by Dr. Scheibe to perform his first choral work, Kalinda. Guillaume's compositions are known to be intricate, challenging and yet highly spirited. They promote human values and are full of heart and passion.

Kalinda is the idea that humans can make wonders and can even be proud of spectacular accomplishments; but in reality, everything comes from the Creator. All talents and all treasures are divine blessings that music be used to the benefit of all. Let's praise God and let's share generously.

Mézanmi tandé, wi sé poun tandé:

Kalinda, jan ou ka kalinda

Sé gran mési kout tanbou.

San li pata gin Kalinda

Joumou pa donnin kalbas,

Zannanna pa donnin pingwen;

Tout bon bagay, sé prodwi bon bagay.

Tout sa ki byen, soti nan sa ki byen.

Listen friends, yes you have to listen:

Dance, the best way you can,

It’s thanks to the sounds of the drum.

Oh how beautiful without which, there would not be any dancing

The apple does not fall far from the tree;

All good things derive from good things

Thank you, drumbeats.

The WVHS Varsity Chamber Choir is appreciative of the leadership from Indian Prairie School District and Waubonsie Valley High School.

We are honored to have our Waubonsie Valley Varsity Chamber participate at the 2020 Central & North Central Regional American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. To have our students and teachers participate in such an important event defines the caliber of musicianship that can be found in our district’s music program. The opportunity for our students and staff to engage with other musicians and clinicians from the central and north central region aligns with our mission to inspire all students to achieve their greatest potential.

We are very proud of our students as well as our talented music educators, who will accompany the students at the conference. They include Seth Durbin, Kristen Murray and student teacher, Taylor Bailey of Waubonsie Valley High School. With support from community leaders and the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation, our participating students and teachers represent a shared commitment to excellence and innovation to which we have received national acclaim over the years.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your conference.

Karen Sullivan, Ed.D


It is my privilege that I write in recognizing Waubonsie Valley High School’s Varsity Chamber’s Choir as they participate at the 2020 Central & North Central Regional American Choral Directors Association Conference in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

As principal I challenge our freshman class each year to identify something, they are good at and something they love to do. I challenge them to do this through taking rigorous courses and being involved. The recognition our choir program is receiving by performing in front of their peers shows to this commitment. I have no doubt that excelling in music education encourages such skills for future careers and builds passion towards the areas of the arts that furthers community enrichment.

To this call I highly praise Seth Durbin and Kristen Murray, choir directors at Waubonsie Valley. They have fostered this direction and desire in our students. Encouraging them to seek out this path of growth, which often comes in direct competition of a demanding world asking more of students to think of careers and future planning. They have directly connected this skill and passion of choir to the overall health and growth of a student experience; all of this while having our students excel at the highest level in which this recognition acknowledges. I can think of no better compliment.

Thank you for allowing us to share their efforts and passions with their peers at ACDA. A distinction I know all of them think highly of.


Jason P. Stipp

Principal-Waubonsie Valley HS

Welcome to today’s performance by the Waubonsie Valley High School Varsity Chamber Singers. We are honored by the American Choral Directors Association’s invitation to perform at this year’s Central and North Region Conference. Our district is proud to have the Waubonsie Valley High School Varsity Chamber Singers represent the 33 schools and over 27,000 students of Indian Prairie School District 204.

Our educational community takes great pride in our nationally recognized arts programs, and today’s performance is sure to be yet another example of music thriving in our schools. While we are fortunate to enjoy the strong support of our local community, we commend our music programs for reaching beyond their individual buildings. It’s not always easy to be active at the regional, state, national, and even international levels; however, our music faculty and students continually demonstrate the desire to share their artistry and professionalism to broad audiences.

We are very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by our music students and the exceptional music educators who lead them, Seth Durbin, Kristen Murray, and Taylor Bailey. It is an honor to support them today, as they share their music with you.

Thank you to the American Choral Directors Association for the invitation, and I hope you enjoy today’s performance.


Grant Sahr

Director of Elective Curriculum and Coordinator of Fine Arts

Indian Prairie School District 204

Seth Durbin began his career at Waubonsie Valley High School in 2015. Mr. Durbin holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, IL. ​Among the choirs under his direction are five curricular choirs, the Mosaic chorus, Mosaic Ensemble, and the award winning show choir "Sound Check". . In addition, Mr. Durbin serves as the co-musical director for the spring musical. Seth in currently serving as the Show Choir Chair for Illinois ACDA, organizing the yearly Illinois All State Show Choir. In his spare time, he performs for various professional concerts and tours, singing music from the Game of Thrones and Final Fantasy video game series. Mr. Durbin was recently seen in the 2018 and 2019 productions of Leonard Bernstein's Mass at Ravinia Festival under the direction of Marin Alsop.

Kristen Murray has been at WVHS since 2017. She previously spent five years as the assistant choral director at Lockport Township High School. Mrs. Murray holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Millikin University and a Master’s in Music Education from Michigan State University. Mrs. Murray directs the curricular choirs Cecillian Singers, Concert Choir, Treble Choir, and Varsity Singers. She also directs UnaVoce and is vocal co-director for the spring musical. In her free time, she enjoys songwriting and music production. Mrs. Murray and her husband regularly perform with their band Like Language throughout the Chicago area.

Carrie Marcotte is excited to join the WVHS music department! Mrs. Marcotte holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI, and a Master’s degree from Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, IN. She has been accompanying musicals, choirs, and soloists, both vocal and instrumental, since middle school. In her free time, she teaches private piano and voice lessons, sings in an a cappella female quartet (Cantina Vocal Project), sings and plays piano in a vocal duo (Take Two Singers), and directs a 50+ voice men’s a cappella chorus- The West Towns Chorus.

Waubonsie Valley High School is a part of Indian Prairie School District 204, located in Aurora, lllinois. WVHS opened in 1975 and currently serves a student population of approximately 2550 students. Our school's mission is "to foster students' learning to its highest potential while providing diverse and challenging educational experiences that academically, socially, and emotionally shape our students into independent and productive members of society."

The Waubonsie Valley High School Music Department serves approximately 700 students in curricular classes including five bands, six orchestras, and eight choirs. Students are also actively involved outside of the school day in almost 20 co-curricular music ensembles spread across our department. We are fortunate to have been named a GRAMMY Signature School five times and a GRAMMY Gold Signature school twice. Our community is very supportive of the Fine Arts, having earned NAMM "Best Communities for Music Education" designation for eight years.