Q&A with Robin Wood

Choir Director Robin Wood on Liberty Singers’ upcoming trip to New York

Claire Good, News Editor

Q: What inspired you to plan a trip of this scale?

A: This is an exciting year; it’s year five in my program. The filtering of people, music, events, and awards have all come together to become the best choir that I’ve had to date. It’s balanced, it’s the most seasoned, and I have the most seniors, who have all been with me for four years. So it was time. I’ve always wanted to do this, and the more I heard about some of the usual trips that kids do—like Disneyland, or Six Flags—the more I felt like there was more out there for us. So I looked at the Carnegie Hall Series. Year before last, we were about three down on the waiting list. We almost made it.


Q: So you’ve been trying to put the New York trip together for a while now?

A: Yes, I have. I’ve been sending CDs around for years. You have to meet certain qualifications to perform in this realm—they don’t let just anybody go. So I decided against Carnegie Hall—I might go in the future, with a different choir, but this time, with the money we were going to spend, I wanted this choir to be able to see this hot bed of music and art and theatre. I wanted them to experience it. And not just be in a rehearsal hall for three days and then put on a performance and fly home. So, I found a way to work with a tour director to make one of our own.


Q: You worked with a tour director, and created the whole thing?

A: Yes. Worked directly. I explained what we wanted to see, where we wanted to go, and figured out what we could do with the money that we have. We went back and forth trying to make sure that we had the most opportunities for performance, touring, workshops, and Broadway shows.


Q: Can you describe the trip for me?

A: We do a red-eye flight on Monday the sixth of April, and we perform the day we arrive. Our first performance is right at Ground Zero, at the chapel, which is an amazing place. Then we’re going to be able to go to the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum as well. We get to shop on Canal Street and Mulberry Street. We get to have a huge dinner in Little Italy. We tour Lincoln Square, and see where the opera happens—we might even get to sit in on an opera rehearsal! We go to Top of the Rock. We have a workshop with the professors at the Manhattan School of Music. We get to see a Broadway show! Ellis Island, we’re doing that. The Statue of Liberty, too. And our second performance happens the day that we leave.


Q: What are you hoping is going to come out of this trip for the choir program?

A: Everything I do raises the bar a little bit. Every time we compete, every time we go to a festival, every time we do a tour, every time I bring in an adjudicator; everyday experience is meant to cement the message. To solidify the excellence. To make sure that what we are after, as a choral program, is a finely crafted product. And so this is one more chance for this choir, especially the underclassmen, to see that there is a world beyond Liberty. That it is full of music, and art, and human beings that are using the fine arts as a metaphor for life. That’s what I’m after.