On July 22, 2013, Linda Eder performed at Town Hall in New York City. It was a magical evening to remember for Linda herself, Billy Stein and the band, Kim Sharnberg, Lisa Gwasda and her choir, The Young Voices of New York, and the audience.
Arranger and Orchestrator Kim Scharnberg tells THE VOICE...
| Linda and Kim
“It had been a looong time since I'd heard Linda at Town Hall in NYC... maybe since her IT’S TIME album at the end of the last century! What a wonderful night it was, and I got to hear my eleven choir arrangements performed - most for the first time. Lisa Gwasda put together a great group of young singers – The Young Voices of New York - who were ‘off-book’ for the whole night. This means they MEMORIZED all of the little notes I wrote for them, which was very impressive. I have to say my favorite song of the night was ‘Don't Cry For Me Argentina’ from EVITA. Linda's vocals soared as always and the choir was right there with her... they even sang in Latin! Billy Stein and the band were solid from the first notes to the end of the last song.
It was so nice to see so many old friends and loyal LE fans too! Lots of new things on the way so stay tuned and get ready for more choir... Ahhhhhh!”
Lisa Gwasda, Choir Director Celia Cruz Bronx HS of Music and Director of The Young Voices of New York had the privilege and honor of joining Linda Eder on stage.
| Linda, Lisa and Kim
Lisa writes of the experience…
When I was asked if I would provide a choir for a Linda Eder concert at Town
Hall, my first response was, “YES!” After having the honor of performing with Linda and her tremendous band in December, I knew it was something that my choirs and I would certainly love to do again.
Town Hall is a famous NYC theatre known for its Broadway performers and exceptional concerts. Having the opportunity to bring my chorus there to perform was the thrill of a lifetime! Toss in the fact that we were backing up Ms. Linda Eder, and we were in seventh heaven!
This chorus, The Young Voices of New York, is a small ensemble (8-21 singers) composed of some of my high school students, alumni, and some of my incredibly talented friends. The choir ranges from age 13 to 33. In reality, it is just a group of amazing people who love to sing and are good at it. We all just got together for this show and formed an ensemble, but it seems as though we will keep it going! It is incredible to combine such forces and it was a learning experience for all!
I was very nervous that this would be tough to pull off when Kim Scharnberg, who was arranging all of these pieces, told me there would be twelve arrangements! I wanted this show memorized so that we could really perform, have some fun, and enjoy the performance while being attentive to the band, Linda, and all of our cues. Well, my unbelievable singers did not let us down! They memorized 14 pieces in two weeks and did an incredible job. We had eight rehearsals with the students, two with the young adults, and only one rehearsal combined.
The set list was something I would have loved to have been in the audience to hear – quite possibly one of the best set lists Ms. Eder has put together in a show! At first, I was not sure how a chorus would sound on some of these pieces. A choir can be present with force, and as characters on stage, like in the piece “Don't Cry For Me Argentina,” or used as an orchestral background like in the haunting arrangement of “Now.” Both of these turned out to be favorites of mine! Kim Scharnberg wrote a chilling and incredibly dynamic choir arrangement of “Don't Cry For Me Argentina,” that begged me to say, “This is my favorite!” every time we rehearsed it. It sits so very well in Ms. Eder's voice and is the kind of piece that could use a choir theatrically. I hope we get to perform this again someday!
“Now,” is a piece that at first, I couldn't imagine a choir on. I didn't want its simplicity and lyrical vocal line to be lost in a sea of choral singers, but between Mr. Scharnberg's simple, but haunting arrangement, and Ms. Eder's suggestion to sing it all on “Ooohs, and ahhhs,” it did the job and added another dimension to the chilling melody.
I honestly cannot say that there was a song that we did not enjoy performing. Pieces like “Fernando” and “Son Of A Preacher Man” were so much FUN to sing and dance on that we could not stop smiling. Ballads like “Through The Eyes Of Love” and “More Than Heaven” allowed us to create a canvas of sound with only our voices. Pieces like “The Mad Hatter” and “Man Of La Mancha” allowed us to delve in theatrically, use some jazz chops, and really have some fun! And the honor of performing on songs that are known as Ms. Eder's staples, like “Vienna” and “If I Had My Way” are tough to make it through emotionally, but just so beautifully written that they were a joy to perform.
Finally, “Climb Every Mountain” is a very special song to me, as THE SOUND OF MUSIC was my very first time being cast in a principal role in a summer theatre (I played the Baroness Elsa). That piece holds a very special place in my heart. Hearing Ms. Eder sing it was an emotional and inspirational experience for me. Hearing my choir sing it was just incredible. The arrangement is simply beautiful. The choir was featured in a chorus of “Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, 'til you find your dream...” and then accompanied Ms. Eder as she continued the verse. The final chorus explodes into the most powerful chorus of a musical theatre song you could imagine. The singers understood how important the lyric was, as they were all up there following a dream.
Thank you to Kim Scharnberg, who is so incredibly talented, and a delight to work with. Thank you to Billy Stein, who is a master of his craft, and also so easy and fun to work with. Thank you to the band - it is an honor to be able to work with you all! Thank you to my singers - your hard work, dedication, and love of music is incredible, and I so appreciate every one of you! And thank you to Linda Eder. You have given me “something to believe in” for so many years and have always inspired me. Thank you for trusting me/us and inspiring us all.
The Young Voices of New York Choir (as seen on July 22, 2013)
Amanda Hudson Schulze