Concert Choir workshops with Dr. Benson at SJSU(San Jose State University)

By Justin Wang

Concert Choir attended a choral workshop at SJSU (San Jose State University) to join is Director of Choral Activities at SJSU, Dr. Jeffrey Benson, and his students on March 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“He just listened to us, then gave us tips on vocal quality and dynamics to prepare us for performances and make our pieces concert-ready,” said senior Lilly Liu.

Dr. Benson conducted the choral warm-ups and many of his students came in and directed the Concert Choir.

“His warm-ups are really cool, funny; he would have his own students come in, lead up and direct. We get to see different perspectives of people directing. And how they did it, they were all different,” said junior Jeremiah Porda.

Concert Choir practiced the pieces “Canti cum novum”, “Hela Rotane” and “Good Night, Dear Heart.”

“I think he’s very knowledgeable and he gives us a lot of great tips. He reinforces the things that Mr. Ellis says and he helps prepare us for concerts,” said Lily.

This workshop provided unique experiences and a look into the workings of college choir for some Concert Choir students.

“I’m looking forward to performing with college students. It’s going to be cool to see how college choirs work,” said Jeremiah.

Dr. Benson and usually holds workshops with PHHS Concert Choir semi-annually, but in recent years Concert Choir has not been able to meet with Dr. Benson at SJSU.

“Dr. Benson usually visits us like twice a year, but we never really go to SJSU,” said Lilly.

Dr. Benson is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) according to, the official SJSU website.

The website also notes that choirs under Dr. Benson’s direction have been invited to perform with notable figures such as the Rolling Stones, Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli.


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