Notes from the Train by Alice Hamlet | October 2, 2018
An interview about performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra with New Jersey Youth Symphony Manager of Orchestras Stacy Beltran
NJYS Manager of Orchestras Stacy Beltran will perform with Newark Voices, a project-based community choir supported by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, for the NJSO 2018-19 season opening. Formed to engage talented singers and experienced choral musicians from the Greater Newark community, Newark Voices will partner with the Montclair State University Chorale to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 “Choral” led by Xian Zhang for two NJPAC performances—Friday, October 5 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 7 at 3 pm. On Sunday, audience members can join the choir in singing a portion of the Beethoven in the lobby prior to the concert for ChoralYou.
For tickets and more information, click here.
How long have you been working at NJYS? What do you like most about the job?
This is my sixth season with NJYS. Witnessing the incredible growth of our young and talented musicians is the most fulfilling part of my job.
Tell us about your voice background.
I have been singer all my life. I would sing in church and in school where I would sneak away to the choir room to hang out with other choir members during lunch. I owe my singing to the amazing choir teachers that taught me all through school: Dan Anderson, Fairview Elementary; Jack Bender, Bloomfield High School; and Dr. John Floreen, Rutgers University. Although I was not a music major in college, being in choir afforded me wonderful opportunities, including traveling on tour to Wales and Italy.
Have you sung Beethoven’s Ninth before? If so, where and when?
Actually, this is the first time I will sing this piece. The piece has tested all of my musical talents, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity.
How long did it take to learn the music and your part?
I had to audition for the community choir (Newark Voices) back in May, so I’ve been practicing for about four months now.
How many different vocal parts are there in B9? I think you said that you were singing Alto 2?
Yes, I sing Alto 2—always have! All 8 parts (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass) are represented in this piece. In one of the sections, you will hear a four-part men’s chorus, and they are amazing! Our very own Terrence Thornhill from the Paterson Music Project, an MSU alumnus, will also be singing!
Was the audition scary? What did you have to do at your audition for Newark Voices?
Ah! Yes, very scary. I have not auditioned for something since college, but it felt good to get back into audition prep mode. The audition consisted of five excerpts from Beethoven’s Ninth for accuracy of notes, rhythm, and German diction, and also a sight-reading example.
Where else do you sing on a regular basis? Do you have a band or ensemble?
Choral music is great, but I also love singing jazz. I serve as social media and PR volunteer for the Rutgers-Newark undergraduate jazz ensemble, Mosaic Jazz, under the direction of Radam Schwartz, and I perform with the other alumni on occasion.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Please come see the performances! The NJSO and MSU choir do this piece great justice and I promise you will love it. If you happen to see me on Sunday at ChoralYou in the NJPAC lobby, say hi!
When not commuting, Alice Hamlet is the Director of Marketing at the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts and is also on the faculty of the Performing Arts School, teaching cello and music theory.