“With a love of music as big as his last name, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu has been sharing joy and a vision for equity and justice through song for over a decade” (St. Olaf College). On Thursday, October 3rd, Tesfa visited Prior Lake High School in order to work with the choir on their current gospel concert set. Tesfa is a current choral instructor at St. Olaf College, and he has also conducted national honor choirs.
We, Gracie and Natalie, had a great experience working with Tesfa and learning different styles that we could apply to our music. We learned about various techniques for making our music sound better and really connecting with our music. He told us to put purpose behind what we are singing, which really helped us enhance our music. He told us stories about his life in order to help us find a way to connect it to our own lives.
Tesfa also listened to us sing, and he pointed out influential parts in our music that we can appreciate and build up to, in order to make the piece sound truly remarkable. Another cool thing Tesfa did was take voice notes the whole time we sang. He was able to work with us in the moment, and then he also spoke on his phone so he could record other notes while we were singing. The notes had instant critiques and compliments that we were able to access after he came.
Tesfa was such a fun energetic guy. All of the choir kids stumbled into the auditorium Thursday morning, exhausted from the festivities during Homecoming week. Tesfa’s bright smile and warm voice sparked new love for parts of our music. He often made funny remarks and told stories that enhanced the experience, causing choir kids to beg him to come back.
After this 3 hour, eye-opening rehearsal, choir kids became overly excited for their concert. The jazzy feel of the band contributes to the overall gospel theme of our mass. This year’s masterwork is the “Gospel Mass” by Robert Ray, and it is totally different than anything we have sung before. Along with the mass, which is performed memorized this year, choirs sing a collection of other music, including a short gospel tune for the finale.
The fun thing about this concert is that all choir kids sing together for the mass and the finale song, but the middle tier and higher tier have their own feature songs. Concert Choir, the ensemble we are in, is singing a beautiful piece called “Precious Lord” that is guaranteed to give you goosebumps! We are even singing in a special formation to make the acoustics better!
You’ll just have to come see the concert at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church on Monday at 7 pm!
Click here for the ticket link! Buy your tickets beforehand, so we don’t sell out before you buy yours!