Kyle Dunn, a junior at Leonia High School, sang with the National Choir on October 30th in Nashville, Tennessee. The choir was made up of 350 young vocalists from all around the country.
The National Choir, sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), performed at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Tennessee. Conducted by the inspirational Dr. Rollo Dilworth, the choir sang intricate pieces in Greek, Latin, and other foreign languages. After being a part of the New Jersey All-State Choir, Kyle Dunn was selected to sing with this very advanced group made up of the most talented singers in the country. The National Choir had three days to prepare the challenging pieces with the guidance of Dr. Dilworth, director of music education and head of the music therapy program at Temple University. Kyle learned more than new music from this experience; he says, “[Dr. Dilworth] told us to write something down. He said to write M for mastery, U for understanding, S for soul, I for internalization, and C for communication, which stands for music. It is pretty much the meaning of music.” Dunn plans to apply that to every piece of music he performs for the rest of his life. Mr. Dunn, Kyle’s father and a teacher at Leonia High School, accompanied his son and can agree with the qualities of the conductor. “He was so youthful, energetic, and inspirational, [and] he was able to just do little gestures and [the choir was] very responsive. They quickly understood what he was saying and were able to execute it,” says Mr. Dunn. He also learned a lot from this experience, and tries to apply many new conducting methods while teaching the Leonia High School choirs.
What stood out to Kyle the most about this incredible experience was getting to know new, interesting people. “I met people from all across the country. It stood out to me that, for example, there was only one person from Mississippi, seven people from Alaska, and a lot more people from Wyoming. I definitely made a lot of new friends”, says Kyle. For Mr. Dunn it was all about the sound of the choir; 350 magnificent voices singing together. He says, “The opening number was so beautiful and powerful. I am so proud of my son and all the kids that I had tears running down my face.”