Last night I had the opportunity to enjoy the York College Concert Choir. The choir from the small four-year school in Nebraska was wrapping up its winter tour. Mid-tour, prior to making it to Austin, they were thrown a curve-ball when one of the concerts was cancelled due to inclement weather. Instead of being able to stay with host families in Springfield, the choir was put in a hotel in Joplin. Since the group is typically fed through a potluck from the host church or school and the hotel does not fill that requirement, the director decided to take the students to Cracker Barrel. As a part of their tip, they decided to sing. An onlooker posted it to YouTube. I like how he described the group as “well-dressed youths”.
Hearing this song in concert last night as well as a beautifully written Northern Lights by Ola Gjello, reminded me of a story. It is the story I prefer to tell regarding my school selection, the way I like to remember the school and remember its musical ambassadors.
When I was in high school and still considering colleges, I particularly remember a specific visit to York. Singing had been an integral part of my life. Concert choir, show choir (called Southern Magic), musicals, and voice lessons were all included in my busy adolescence; these were pre-Glee/pre-High School Musical/pre-Pitch Perfect days mind you. Music shared time with running, soccer, Boy Scouts, a number of clubs and many travels, notwithstanding regular visits to my dad’s.
I visited York College as it was one of my several options. My soccer coach at the time, Seth Mohorn, had attended York, thus peaking my interest. There were a number of things I enjoyed about York including a chance to play soccer and a possibility to sing in the choir.
During a concert, I turned to my mother and told her, “When it comes time for me to make a final decision regarding college, tell me to remember that sound.” In all my travels, after listening to numerous artists and many other choirs, I have not since found a sound that matched that of the York College Concert Choir.
York turned out to be a good fit for me. I received scholarships for soccer (which I later returned to help coach) and choir; those took priority but I still participated in a number of other extracurriculars. I also had professors that encouraged me in my writing and creativity. In addition to an education, the school molded me into who I am today.
Per tradition, as an alumnus of the choir, I was invited on stage for the last two songs. Last night’s performance also featured the Brentwood Christian Choir, bringing about more voices and a fuller sound. The refreshing, chill-inducing experience of harmonizing with a large group of talented individuals remains unequaled.
For more information about the college and the choir, you can visit http://www.york.edu. There is also a place for you to specifically give the choir a tip for their performance above or even to help build a new performing arts center.