GSHS Choir Performs at Carnegie Hall


     On March 20, Glenwood Springs High School (GSHS) Choir Teacher Shanti Gruber accomplished one of her lifelong dreams: taking her choir to the Carnegie Hall.

    Gruber has been a choir teacher in Glenwood Springs for ten years. She is extremely passionate about what she teaches. She says, “Choir allows students to connect all of the academics – language, history, science – into something they can carry with them through the rest of their lives. It is something you can count on helping you learn about who you are and you form friendships with people you wouldn’t [otherwise] meet. It allows students to be a part of something bigger than just themselves.”

    Gruber´s students share this same passion. Junior Jolie DeRosa, who has been in GSHS choir since her freshman year, says, ¨choir means a lot to me. I’ve always loved singing and it’s an amazing class for me to have an outlet to do so. It helps me express myself through my voice.¨

    Gruber hoped to expand upon this shared love for singing when she applied to the Choirs of America Nationals For Top Choirs Program. GSHS was one of twenty schools in the nation invited to attend.

    Getting to Carnegie Hall proved to be a challenge. When Gruber, her nineteen students and three chaperones arrived to the airport, they were informed that all flights to New York City had been canceled because of a winter storm. Gruber was devastated and didn’t believe her choir would make it to NYC in time to perform.

    However, luck proved to be on their side. An agent found a flight to Washington D.C., and it had exactly 23 seats left. After calling 30 companies to arrange transportation from D.C. to New York, they finally found one, and arrived in NYC six hours after landing in Washington D.C.

    Although the traveling complications proved to be a struggle, Gruber states that “Students were able to get real life experiences of living in a city, overcoming obstacles, and having patience traveling in a big group.”

    Once they were finally settled in New York, their trip could really begin. Aside from singing with the choir, the students were able to do incredible sightseeing. They toured One World Trade Center Conservatory, attended a Broadway performance of Phantom of the Opera, visited the Statue of Liberty and Alexander Hamilton’s grave at Trinity Church, and explored the city.

    The choir students worked with Rollo Dilworth, an accomplished conductor. They also attended a Broadway workshop, where actresses coached the students. The participating schools all learned the same music and then became one big choir. They performed for a combination of family and friends who were able to attend, as well as  the local supporters of vocal arts.

    Gruber believes that this one in a lifetime experience impacted the students greatly. She says, “To perform at the Carnegie Hall, one of the most renowned performing halls in the world, was an honor. We are so grateful to have that experience. The students are bringing back a new level of musicianship to the group – a different level of commitment and caliber of musicianship.”

        Gruber hopes to take her choir to participate in the next Choirs of America Nationals for Top Choirs performance. She says, “This program has events all over the world. I am hoping to take my choir to their next event in Hawaii in two years.”

    Gruber works to give her students unique, remarkable opportunities. She shares this passion with her students, and it pays off.

    DeRosa states, ¨I´ve found it really easy to confide in Mrs Gruber. She’s an amazing role model and she has taught be to chose my dreams. She is very talented and has given me a place where I can grow.¨

    Participating in choir and attending this trip impacted students immensely. DeRosa says, ¨I’ve wanted to perform in Carnegie Hall since I was little. It changed my life. It showed me I can make it wherever I want. It taught us that even coming from a small town we can go and accomplish big things. It taught us to follow our passions.¨