Thank You, Steve Dresen and the Bonneville High School Choir

In what has to be one of the more touching, pleasing, best-mood-making results of writing my book about singing in a choir, the Bonneville High School Choir of Idaho Falls, Idaho, came to a rehearsal of the Choral Society of Grace Church and sang for us.

Last year their choir director, Steve Dresen, who had read my book, asked if would be okay if they stopped by when they were in New York this year. I put him in touch with John Maclay, our choir director, and then I didn’t hear anything until last week, when John emailed everyone to say they were going to visit us at out next rehearsal (this past Tuesday).

We weren’t sure if they were going to make it in time. Their flight was due to arrive not long before our rehearsal start time, and you know cabs and NYC traffic. When they walked up the aisle about midway through, all 46 of them, (if I counted correctly) we broke into applause.

I recorded them singing for us. This is a very serious choir, as you will hear for yourself. I couldn’t get over how carefully, professionally, and full of heart their sound is. They gave me chills, especially when they got to the part “Oh where is the key to the kingdom,” in the second piece. We kinda descended on them afterwards, it was just such a pleasure to have them there and they were all so freaking charming. And tired. They had to get up at 5am to get their flights, they told me!

For almost all of them, this was their first time in NYC. John invited them to move here when they graduated and to join our choir and I hope they take him up on the offer. They are singing at Carnegie Hall on Saturday at 8:30 (with 16 other choirs) and tickets may still be available.

Group shot! Don’t you want to just adopt them all?? The movie I made of them follows. Unfortunately, you can’t see them well, they were standing in a spot that wasn’t well lit. I wish I had gotten up and moved closer.


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

7 thoughts on “Thank You, Steve Dresen and the Bonneville High School Choir

  1. I love the choir, how beautiful (the singing and the high schoolers, gosh, when did high schoolers get so young and cute?) but my favorite part of the video is YOUR whoops at the end. You’re the bestest, Stacy, and congrats at writing the book that brought your choirs together.

  2. Awww, thank you for pointing that out. That made me feel good.

    And yeah, they all look so young and so so cute. I felt so happy that this happened.

  3. I came across this article about a month ago. I wasn’t in choir in high school but I was friends with almost every single one of those kids. It was touching to read this. Thank you so much.

  4. And thank you for saying so. I can’t tell you how much we all loved them coming to sing for us. I still remember what they looked like when they marched up the aisle!

  5. I’m glad that it was a good experience for you. Some of those kids are my best friends in the entire world and the most talented people I know. Mr. Dresen and the other members of the music department are such incredible teachers. And I still cry whenever I hear them sing.

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