East choir prepares for big performance

Faith Webb Entertainment Editor

Working on the musical pieces, “Carmina Burana,” Dr Marjorie SImons-Bester directs the honor choir East High Singers. “It is a wonderful opportunity, seriously. I am excited about this opportunity to work not just to work on ‘Carmina Burana.’ but to work with the Omaha Symphony because I think it is a great learning opportunity for our students,” Simons Bester said. Photo by Faith Webb

East High Singers is Bellevue East’s official honor choir, and over the years has had many opportunities to work and grow their talents outside of school productions. This year, on November 14, the honor choir will don their iconic purple and white robes and join with other choirs at the Holland Center to perform the “Carmina Burana.”

This showing of the classic “Carmina Burana,” is being  directed by Ernest Richardson and joined with him are professional soloists and the Omaha Symphony. The Omaha Symphony was established in 1921 and has since been bringing the love of music for over 100 years through their talent and skill. 

East High Singers has a past of working with the Omaha symphony, the last time being in 2015 where they performed Handel’s “Messiah.” Luckily, the symphony reached out and was offered this year to join the other Nebraska choirs in the showing of the “Carmina Burana.”  With consideration, the choir was happy to accept and begin the process of learning the music and techniques in order to give a thrilling performance. Guiding them along in learning is their director, Dr. Marjorie Simons-Bester.

“I realize that we are  moving slower this year than we would have in years past. But my saying is ‘Covid is a thing’ and it has impacted everything in life and we didn’t start out where we ended up the last time we performed with the Omaha Symphony a few years back. Yes, we are moving slower  but it provides a safety net for us in my mind because I know that I can stop and spend a little bit more time on vowel shapes, blend, etcetera. Just encouraging people to sing and developing the sound,” Simons Bester said.

Over the years, choral collaboratives have been bringing choirs around Nebraska together. Multiple schools, districts, and students come together as a mass choir and sing one specific set of music as a whole. 

During the events of the pandemic, the mass choral collaborative wasn’t able to be worked with or done due to safety concerns. Now that its back and running, students can experience it for the first time, like  senior East High Singers member Sylvia Trudell.

“I actually think it’s very cool. Being  around such professional people and  actually getting to  experiment with other classes and other choruses that are around us Like even when we get to rehearse at  Omaha Burke. It’s a thrilling  and exciting experience that really inspires me to keep pushing through everything  I do with choir because you don’t usually get experience like this  unless you make it to the higher ups,” Trudell said.

While there may be initial nerves for this performance, the choir tries to support each other as best as possible. Banding together as a team and spending time out of school to work on music and pronunciation. 

“Doing the Carmina makes me feel like  Somebody thinks we are good. I think we are good enough to be a part of this, it shows that we have progressed  over the years to be able to do something like this. To be able to do something like this and to learn  something this quickly and stand with everyone else  means that we have made our mark in who we are and that we are going to keep doing  this kind of thing  in the future,” Trudell said