By Tamas Mondovics
For the student athletes, there is the goal of the state championship. For others, a spot at the finals of the season’s state science fair. For the members of the Riverview High School choir, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is the chance to be seen and heard under the direction of composer, Maestro Eric Whitacre at New York City’s world famous Carnegie Hall. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the 85 member high school chorus was offered through Distinguished Concerts International, which invited the students to take part in the East Coast debut of Whitacre’s concert piece Paradise Lost, a performance scheduled for next June. “This is a huge honor for our choir,” said Riverview High School Chorus and Orchestra Director Elizabeth Stewart. “Whitacre is a modern composer who is widely respected for his distinctive choral style. We have performed many of his compositions, including Sleep, Hope, Faith, Life, Love, The Seal Lullaby, and Lux Aurumque, over the past four years.” Stewart explained that participating in the concert is extremely important to her students, as it would give them the opportunity to work with the renowned composer. “I feel inspired by the fact that Eric Whitacre, who we admire as a composer, recognized the hard work and dedication and is giving us an opportunity to work with him in person,” said Riverview High School senior Troy Kilgore.Performing at such honorable occasions is nothing new at Riverview. In 2007, several of the students traveled to NYC and performed at the Christmas portion of G.F. Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall with John Rutter, but according to Stewart, next summer’s event is much more meaningful because the students feel a strong connection to the composer.“This opportunity would give more credibility to the choir’s accomplishments, both for our school and our community,” she said. While attending the concert is open to all, the cost per student for the trip is $1,500. Understandably, the choir is seeking community support in its effort to participate in this event, along with a number of fundraisers planned to offset the cost of the trip.In hopes of reaching such a goal, Aaron Castle, also a senior, added, “This is the first time our choral program has been awarded an honor of this magnitude. I hope that the school and the community will rally behind our efforts. It is nice to be recognized by a world-renowned composer.”For more information about the Riverview High School choral program or to donate to its trip, please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.