Iowa High School Choirs' "Vocal Jazz Summit" in West Des Moines: a preview with Haley Gibbons

Jan 24, 2019

Haley Gibbons, who directs four choral groups at West Des Moines High School
Credit Haley Gibbons

 UPDATE: Tonight at 6:30 PM*, Vocalese will sing at St. John's Lutheran Church in Des Moines, as will the Urbandale Singers and Iowa State Singers. It's a "bon voyage" concert before the three groups sing at the American Choral Directors Association national convention in Kansas City - an honor mentioned in the original post below. The Iowa State Singers will also perform their program on Sunday, Feb 24th 1:30 at ISU Music Hall in Ames:

The high school choral scene in Iowa is thriving, Haley Gibbons told me, and she is a perfect example of why it's hopping. One of two choral directors at West Des Moines Valley High, Gibbons leads no fewer than four choral groups there. She came in to tell me about an event tomorrow (Friday, January 25th) for high-school jazz choirs from around the state, the annual  “Valley Vocal Jazz Summit." Twenty-three jazz choirs will "clinic" throughout the day with the renowned ensemble New York Voices. Then at 7:30 PM, New York Voices will give a concert (tickets will be available at the door of the Staplin Performing Arts Center). The warm-up act will be Gibbons' own jazz choir, Vocalese. It recently had the distinction of being chosen to perform at the American Choral Directors Association national convention. You can hear them in the video below. 

  

 Other groups Gibbons leads at Valley include a show choir (she explains), and two traditional choirs, one intermediate and other advanced. The latter worked with Iowa composer Elaine Hagenburg on a new piece (and you can read more about Elaine at this Choral Iowa post). Here's an edited clip of my interview with Haley Gibbons:

  * Concert start time has been moved forward to 6:30 because of the impending winter storm - updated February 19th