Longtime Lower School music teacher Judy Herrington is on the East Coast today, April 11, for the premiere performances of work commissioned for her by Manhattan Concert Productions, titled “Stars Tonight,” at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Today’s performances of “Stars Tonight” are the first two of four this year by the National Children’s Festival Chorus; in June there will be a repeat performance at Carnegie Hall and a new performance at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. “The work is scored to include chorus members playing Tibetan bells and wind chimes,” Ms. Herrington says via the Tacoma Youth Chorus, which she founded 26 years ago and now features six choirs of South Sound students in grades two through 12. “The inspiration for this work is the poetry of Sara Teasdale, its text describing the experience of seeing an infinite night sky filled with stars and the heightened awareness of walking in woods at night. I hoped to convey a spiritual awe, inspired wonder and profound respect for nature.”
Judy teaches Tarriers in grades one through five and has been at CWA since 1975. As Head of Lower School Diane Hunt points out, “it’s every musician’s dream to perform in Carnegie Hall. For Judy to have this opportunity to have her piece showcased there is the cherry on the sundae. It’s so special for these young singers, as well as our own music students, to have the person who wrote the piece you’re about to perform be there in the audience—what a sense of pride and validation. Judy would probably say, ‘I can’t not compose.’ The fact that she is always writing music and our students are test driving it, seeing mistakes and the process of rebuilding from those mistakes, watching their teacher be passionate and vulnerable about self-expression—it’s invaluable.”