Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) student singers are featured on a CD that won a Grammy Award Sunday, Feb. 13. The WPI Festival Chorus, which also includes alumni and faculty, was invited last year by New Age musician Paul Winter to sing on a track of his latest album, "Miho: Journey to the Mountain." This CD, which features the WPI student singers listed below, won the Grammy for "Best New Age Album" at the 53rd Grammy Awards ceremony, broadcast on CBS.
Winter recorded the song "Remembering" (track 19) last spring on the WPI campus. WPI choral director John Delorey describes the song as a "quiet, yet joyful composition, with the chorus singing a serene tune, accompanied by cello, piano, and Paul Winter on soprano saxophone." In the CD liner notes, all of the WPI Festival Chorus members are listed individually and named collectively as the "Chorus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute."
"This is such an exciting time for all of the singers," said Delorey, after the Grammy win was announced. "The Grammy Award puts into perspective all of the time and effort we have put into the WPI choral program over the past 10 years. Now, the students can't wait to go back to New York City this fall to sing again with Paul, and to hopefully have him perform with WPI students at Mechanics Hall soon thereafter."
The members of the WPI Festival Chorus are Daniel Lettiere, Joel Reed, Alex Rock, Herman E. Servatius, and WPI Professor Brigitte Servatius, all of Worcester; Christopher Petrie of Leominster; alumnus Jonathan Carelli of Dudley; Amanda Leigh Eaton and Peter Worrest of Hudson; James Salvati of Maynard; Shelby A. Miller of Tyngsboro; José Navedo of Foxboro; Andrew St. Jean of Wrentham; graduate student Erica Stults of Brockton; alumna Eleanor Terry-Walsh of Chatham; alumna Lesley Drohan of Ellington, Conn.; Sam Neu of Derry, N.H.; Sean O'Brien of Wynnewood, Pa.; Kari Rehkugler of Charlotte, Vt.; Katelyn Krajenka of Derry, N.H.; Christopher Whipple of North Kingstown, R.I.; and non-WPI community members Cheryl Hayden of Shirley and Beverly Heath of Worcester.
WPI's relationship with Winter (who now has seven Grammys under his belt) dates back 10 years, when he first invited Delorey and his choral students to perform in New York City at the Feast of St. Francis at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, featuring "Missa Gaia," with the Paul Winter Consort. WPI's participation at the festival has become an annual tradition that is anticipated by both undergraduates and alumni. Last October, the WPI Choral Music Program took more than 60 undergraduate students and 20 alumni to the Big Apple to sing in the festival, which featured a total of more than 300 singers from across the United States. Delorey was invited to conduct the chorus for two pieces during the service: "Sound Over All Waters" and "The Blue Green Hills of Earth." More than 6,000 people attended the festival.
"The WPI choral program boasts over 200 talented singers in seven choruses," Delorey said. "The students' love of singing and their commitment to the program allow such amazing opportunities, as afforded to them in New York City and on the recording with Paul Winter. The singers are very expansive in their musical endeavors; their ability to perform in such varied styles with musical credibility is certainly supported by Paul Winter's asking them to perform on his album."
The humanities and arts remain central to WPI's aim of educating innovative humanists and problem solvers. Through humanities and arts courses, WPI students are encouraged to reflect on their responsibilities to others in local, national, and global communities; enhance their ability to effectively communicate; learn how to think critically and independently about the world around them; and use their interdisciplinary talents to make the world a better place.