Singers needed for Hudson Community Summer Choir
Considering the caliber of the high school choirs that Andrew Haase conducts, you'd think he'd be pretty picky about the singers he's willing to work with.
But luckily for enthusiastic singers with mediocre talent, it isn't so.
Haase, the highly regarded director of choral activities at Hudson High School, is forming a Hudson Community Summer Choir.
Anyone with a minimum of choral experience - church, high school, college or community choir - has the opportunity to sing under Haase's conducting. There won't be any auditions.
The choir will rehearse at the high school on Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m., beginning on June 15. The rehearsals will conclude with a concert in the high school auditorium at 7 p.m. Monday, July 27.
"I firmly believe that regardless of the age level or ability level of a choir, you can have excellence at that level," Haase said when asked about his expectations for the community choir. "There is a certain level of excellence that every group can achieve - and I strive for that."
That isn't to say that Haase has low expectations for the community choir.
"We have so much talent in this community, and I love working with the high school students, so I thought, let's see if there is some interest for a summer community choir," he said in an interview Monday.
Conversations with parents of his students who related how much they enjoyed singing were the genesis for the idea of forming the choir.
He said his selfish reason for doing it is that he enjoys making music, and doesn't what to go the summer without being involved in it.
The summer choir will be an opportunity for his students to keep their voices in shape, he added.
Haase said he's hope 60, 70 or 80 singers join the choir. About 25 are registered so far.
"I would like to see a big choir. We have the facilities here at the high school to accommodate that," he said.
He laughed when asked what he'd do if 100 or more show up for the first rehearsal.
"Gosh. If there are a hundred and fifty, praise the Lord. Right? We'll make it happen somehow. I think it would be great to have a big summer choir."
Haase is expecting current students, their parents, alumni, church choir and Phipps Oratorio Society singers to join the community choir.
"I think it will be a whole conglomerate of ages, which is kind of what I want," he said. "I want a real community choir."
He's thinking about a medley from "West Side Story," possibly other Broadway numbers, a small Mass and songs with brass accompaniment for the choir to perform.
"It will be a wide variety of choral literature," he said. "I want something that the audience will enjoy, and something that the singers also will enjoy working hard at.
Haase is asking people to register for the choir by sending him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning him at (715) 377-3800, ext. 6245.
He needs to know something about the size and make-up of the choir before selecting the music.
Haase and accompanist Jodell Krause are donating their time to lead the choir.
"It's something I enjoy doing," he said. "I like working with people and conducting ... It's uplifting. It really is. It's inspiring. It's what makes me go from day to day - to have those musical moments."
Haase came to Hudson High School in the fall of 2001 after graduating from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, a school renowned for its vocal music program.
After three years of teaching, he received a two-year sabbatical to study for a Master of Music degree in conducting and choral literature from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz.
He admits that he considered moving on to conduct college choirs after earning his master's degree.
He said that when he thought about it and looked at other places to work, he realized he had it pretty good in Hudson. And he was grateful to the school district for granting him the two-year sabbatical.
"I felt like I hadn't completed my job in Hudson yet," he said. "I felt like I needed to give something back to this wonderful community. So I came back."
He returned to Hudson in the fall of 2006 and is completing his sixth year in teaching.