WCU Concert Choir bound for the big stage

Story originally published in The Sylva Herald

Western Carolina University’s Concert Choir will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral May 24-28.

The choir features 35 of the top singers from across campus, including both music and non-music majors. Allison Thorp, assistant professor of music and director of Choral Activities, conducts the WCU Concert Choir and will be leading the students on their journey to the Big Apple.

“I believe one of the strongest ways to recruit students is to offer a program of high quality,” Thorp said.

“An important element of becoming a professional musician is building a resume with performances at significant and varied locations. Carnegie Hall is one of the most historical and widely recognized venues in the country. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is another well-known and highly revered performance place. Both are renowned for their beautiful acoustical qualities.”

Photo courtesy of WCU News

Tyrone Kiaku, a WCU senior in the choir, says this trip is a full-circle moment for him.

“I began my freshman year with a trip to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC with the WCU Pride of the Mountains marching band, and I get to end my undergraduate career with another trip to NYC with another ensemble,” he said.

“We are working very hard this semester to make our trip special and show off all of our talents,” Kiaku said.

With the N.C. Promise Tuition Plan around the corner, this opportunity came with impeccable timing.

“I believe that both the intent behind the NYC trip and the N.C. Promise Tuition Plan share the same goal, which is to create a quality educational experience, and these performances will most certainly do that,” said Christine Reeder, a WCU student in the choir. “I think that many people will hear about this occasion and feel inspired to come to Western.”

The choir’s first set will feature historical works by Hildegard Von Bingen, Palestrina and Saint-Saens. The second set will feature “The Road Home” and “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” which is an arrangement of a Dolly Parton song, and the choir will finish with a lively set of African-American spirituals.

“This trip is going to be one for the books, and I hope to see many more events like this for WCU’s choral department in the future,” Reeder said.

Thorp’s choir is accepting donations for students with limited resources.

Donation checks can be mailed to or dropped off at 253 Coulter Building, Cullowhee, NC 28723, ATTN: Allison Thorp.

The WCU Concert Choir performs their campus concert on Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Coulter Recital Hall. The choir will collaborate with WCU Inspirational Choir and Intercultural Affairs for a Black History Month Choral Celebration on Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. on the third floor of Hinds University Center. Stay up to date on the Concert Choir’s many other performances with the Student Activities Calendar on WCU’s website, wcu.edu.