Last year, Burnsville High School choir director Erik Akervik submitted a recording of his FreeStyle choir to the New York City Jazz Festival with the hope of gaining entrance to the international event, which will take place at the Apollo Theater April 9-12.
To Akervik’s excitement, FreeStyle was one of only 10 choirs invited to participate in the festival, which affords ensembles from across the country the opportunity to perform as part of a ticketed daytime performance at the world-famous theater and collaborate with legendary performers and jazz professionals.
Only four of the 10 choirs are high school groups. The other six participating ensembles are from various colleges. Akervik is thrilled that BHS students will be able to showcase their amazing talents on the big stage in New York. The last time FreeStyle was in New York was in 2010, when they performed at Carnegie Hall.
FreeStyle is slated to sing a 25-minute set on stage at the Apollo Theater, performing the best of their jazz pieces, including “Long Ago and Far Away,” “Flowering Almond Tree,” “Sakkijarven Polkka,” “Tico No Fuba” and “Smile.”
While the focus of the trip is to perform on a historic stage, work with world-class vocal jazz artists like Bruce Rogers and Pete McGuiness and hear other talented jazz ensembles, the choir will have the opportunity to visit New York’s important sites, such as the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Opera and Central Park. The trip promises to be a great learning experience for members of FreeStyle, including Hayley Broich, Erika Cao, Will Diedrick, Mark Fitterer, Lucas Heyne, Andra Hiebert, Nathan Johnson, Linden Kirscht, Jasmine Lim, Kallie Lyon, Tess Mueske, Maddie Mulcahy, Derek Racek and Collin Wenda.