The LA Lincolnaires performing at Riverside Church as part of the WorldStrides Heritage Festival on April 5, 2019

Lincoln Academy’s auditioned choir, the Lincolnaires, won a Gold rating at the WorldStrides Heritage Festival in New York City, which took place April 5-6. The choir traveled to New York city with LA choir director Beth Preston, members of Concert Choir, and parent chaperones. They performed four pieces at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. The selections included a folksong in Mongolian, “Dörven Dalai”, arranged by Yongrub, “O Magnum Mysterium” by Tomàs Luis de Victoria, and two folksongs, “Oh, Shenandoah” arranged by Alf Houkom and “Loch Lomond” arranged by Jonathan Quick.

Riverside Church has the tallest steeple in the United States

Riverside Church has the tallest steeple in the United States

Riverside Church, which seats 2000 people and is the tallest church in the nation, has remarkable acoustics. “One of the reasons we go to this festival is to offer these kids a chance to sing at Riverside. It’s like being in a European cathedral,” said Preston.

“Riverside transformed each of our pieces in the best possible way,” said junior Ellie Mathews, a member of the Lincolnaires. “I feel very fortunate to have been part of such a magical performance.”

Beth Preston

Beth Preston conducts the Lincolnaires in a warm up before their performance at Riverside Church

After the Lincolnaires performed, festival adjudicators, who are professional musicians and college professors, gave feedback and ratings based on a rubric that judged the group’s tone, intonation, Interpretation, balance, blend, diction, rhythm, choice of music, and general effect. The Lincolnaires received an average score of 96, the highest score in LA’s history of attendance at the Festival.

“We have gotten a Gold rating many times in the past,” said Preston, “but this year we received a special award for getting a score over 95. The students did an amazing job–the judges gave us some good feedback to fine tune the performance, but the comments were mostly extremely positive.”

skating at Rockefeller Center

Participants in the LA choir trip skating at Rockefeller Center

Preston, who will be retiring this June after a 37-year career teaching music (24 of them at Lincoln Academy), was given a special Director’s Award, and senior Jonah Daiute was given a soloist award.

In addition to participating in the festival, while in New York students saw two Broadway shows, visited the Natural History Museum, ice skated at Rockefeller Center, took in a dinner and dancing cruise around the Statue of Liberty, and participated in a Broadway workshop with a cast member from the Broadway revival of My Fair Lady.

Choirs at Grant Memorial

The combined choirs gathered in front of the Grant Memorial in New York City.

“This trip is a highlight of the year for many students,” said Preston, who has been taking students to New York for a number of years. “In addition to having a great time, the kids who go on this trip bond as a group and many of them renew their passion for singing. We are incredibly grateful to our donors. Many people in the wider community gave financial support above and beyond to make this trip affordable. We have also had some amazing choir parents who pitched in to help with fundraising events and chaperoning.”The Lincolnaires and Concert Choir will perform their annual spring concert on Sunday, June 2 at 7 pm at St. Patrick’s Church in Newcastle.

Photos below: LA choir members at Riverside Church, in a Broadway choreography workshop, and at Rockefeller Center. More photos are in this Flickr album.