Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 15, 2018

Reding returns to Carnegie Hall

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jun 08, 2018
Elaine Reding

“I have been twice blessed,” said Fairfield resident Elaine Reding.

And what a blessing it was! Reding had the honor of performing at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City for the second year in a row.

She and the Chamber Singers of Iowa City performed the Haydn Missa Cellensis Mariazellermesse Saturday, about 1.5 years after her own group, the Chamber Singers of Southeast Iowa, sang at the very same venue in January 2017.

“I would not have guessed that I would be singing at Carnegie again so soon,” she said.


Different circumstances

The Chamber Singers of Iowa City decided to make the trip to Carnegie about a year ago under different circumstances from those that attracted the southeast Iowa singers in 2017. The southeast Iowa group was invited by Distinguished Concerts International New York to sing at the premiere of the Kim André Arnesen Requiem on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was joined by choral groups from across the United States as well as Italy, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

In contrast, the Iowa City group contracted with the venue so its conductor, David Puderbaugh, could conduct in the hallowed hall. The group was joined by choirs from Illinois and Pennsylvania.


Reding’s involvement

Reding joined the Chamber Singers of Iowa City 18 years ago to sing and perform with a high-quality ensemble.

“Every member of the Iowa City group has to audition every year to continue singing with them,” she said. “This can be challenging as there are new vocal performance majors and new singers with advanced vocal degrees auditioning every year.”

Reding rehearses with the Iowa City group once a week every week for 2.5 hours, except on concert weeks when she goes to Iowa City four times during the week.

“It is a big commitment,” she said. “Singing in a demanding ensemble keeps my skills sharp, my voice in good shape, and as an active performer, I am a better teacher and conductor working on both sides of the podium.”

Reding was referring to her role as director of the Chamber Singers of Southeast Iowa.


Carnegie’s allure

Reding described Carnegie Hall as the “most prestigious concert hall” in America. She said it has superior acoustics and a history of greater performers unmatched by any other venue. Like Fairfield’s own Carnegie Historical Museum, the hall was built by steel baron and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891.

Performing at Carnegie Hall is an accomplishment few can claim, though Reding once performed there routinely.

As a young musician and performing in New York, she first sang at Carnegie Hall with the Masterworks Chorus and Orchestra performing Handel’s Messiah when she was 19. She regularly sang concerts there throughout her 20s and early 30s.

Because she had so much experience singing at Carnegie, she ended up organizing the trip for the Iowa City group, just as she had done for the southeast Iowa singers.

“Receiving the unexpected invitation to return to Carnegie Hall with the Chamber Singers of Southeast Iowa in 2017 was a remarkable and unexpected miracle,” she said. “Many decades had passed since I had set foot on that glorious stage, and to be able to share that incomparable opportunity with the Chamber Singers of Southeast Iowa was a heart-melting experience.”

Reding said that when she returned to the venue Saturday night, she felt completely at home, honored to give one more great show at the storied concert hall.

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