Seymour High School’s choral director decided he wanted to do something big to highlight the vocal talents of his students this year.
So he is bringing in a musical composer to give them a unique singing opportunity and music-making experience.
The school is commissioning Louisville-native and composer Jeremy Podgursky to write a special piece of music for the school’s advanced all-female choir, Sirenas.
Kyle Karum, in his second year leading the school’s vocal music department, said it’s a way of learning that few high school students get.
“This exposes the student-musicians to another professional musician and gives them another view on choral music,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for our students to develop in their musical skills and grow as people.”
Karum said he chose the Sirenas ensemble because the group often doesn’t get as much recognition as the show choir, which performs the annual school musical.
“Last year, they felt they were lesser than show choir and they are just as advanced and talented,” Karum said.
The piece will be premiered at the Indiana State School Music Association Festival on April 22, and performed again at Seymour High School’s annual Spring Sing concert May 4.
“Our choir and school will be associated with this piece forever,” Karum said.
Last week, Seymour Community School Corp. board of trustees approved the $2,000 cost of the commission project which will be funded through the choral department’s extracurricular activity fund. Half of the total will be paid up front and the remaining $1,000 paid after the piece is completed.
Podgursky, who started his musical career in rock music, will work directly with Karum and the students to craft a song that fits the specific needs and makeup of the Sirenas ensemble.
After a month of collaborating, Podgursky will spend a month composing the special piece and then visit the school throughout a six-week period to rehearse the song with the students.
He is expected to be at the school three times during the process, Karum said.
Music by Podgursky has been featured in venues and festivals in the United States, Europe and Japan, and his compositions have been performed by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Indiana University New Music Ensemble and Square Peg Round Hole. He also received first-place honors in a national commissioning competition.
“I’ve heard a lot of his samples and they are phenomenal,” Karum said. “He’s the kind of musician and composer that I was looking to work with.”
Podgursky received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music composition and piano from the University of Louisville, where he also taught music theory/aural skills and private composition lessons. His interest in teaching led him to create after-school composition programs for public high schools in the Louisville area.
He currently lives in Bloomington and recently completed his doctoral of music degree at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he served as an associate instructor in the music composition department.