Hymnus’ New York trip was a ‘great experience’

A year of preparations resulted in positive reviews for choirs that formed the Distinguished Concerts Singers International. Hymnus, based in New Prague, was among those choirs that created the mass ensemble that performed at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on Sunday, Nov. 25. Hymnus, with choirs from across the country, including New York, Montana, Connecticut, Hawaii and Washington D.C., were extended invitations to sing at the New York City landmark. The choir of 208 people of various ages sang George Friederic Handel‘s "Messiah." Distinguished Concerts International New York City organized the event. "I was extremely happy with how the Hymnus members performed during the trip to New York," said Rush Wagner, director of the choir. More than 20 members participated in the event, the youngest having just turned 11. The group flew out of the Twin Cities on the afternoon of Thanksgiving. Hymnus stayed at the Holiday Inn Midtown and rehearsals at the Park Central Hotel were just a 10-minute walk away. Mary Zard, choir administrator for Hymnus, said Park Central Hotel was across from Carnegie Hall. "The choir members exemplified professionalism during rehearsals; something which was noted by other choristers and directors alike," said Wagner. He also thought it was nice at how prepared Hymnus was. "I was very proud of every Hymnus members especially the children," said Zard. She noted that other landmarks such as Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Central Park were nearby. Hymnus members didn’t think they would have time for sight seeing due to the long rehearsals, but they were able to sneak some in. While Wagner didn’t perform with the choir, he did attend the rehearsals and the performance. During the rehearsals he took notes on the styles of Dr. Jonathan Griffith, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Distinguished Concerts International New York City. There were various groups that did reviews, from bloggers to a critic from the New York Times, who said, "The chorus… handled some of the work’s most involved passages confidently and produced a ravishing sound at climaxes." "The reviews for the ensemble en-mass have been very complimentary, and in my opinion, this is well deserved," said Wagner. "It was great weather while we were there and the entire trip was wonderful," said Zard. "I am very proud of (Hymnus’) efforts up to and including the entire New York trip," said Wagner. Next up, Hymnus will be caroling at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis on Saturday, Dec. 15, before the Guthrie’s production of "A Christmas Carol." Then Hymnus will focus on the Verdi Requiem for its February concert with the Dakota Valley Symphony.