Turning Point: An interview with a member of the University’s touring choir.

If you’ve attended chapel or one of Eastern’s Arts Showcases or concerts, then you’ve probably heard the lovely performances put on by Turning Point.  Turning Point is Eastern’s audition-only choir, performing at events both on and off campus. With classes, schoolwork, and multiple performances a semester, the members of Turning Point have quite a lot on their plate.

One of Turning Point’s members, Morgan Thomas, a senior Music and Psychology double major, talked with me about what it’s like being a part of Turning Point. “I’ve been a part of Turning Point since sophomore year, which is typically the first year someone can join, because we audition in the spring,” Thomas said.  “The audition was kind of weird because the current members of Turning Point sit in on the audition.  It’s not just you and the director.  It’s you and twelve other people.  That was a little nerve wracking, and then just getting in was really exciting because it was something that I wanted to do.”

This being her third year as a member of Turning Point, Thomas has witnessed several changes to the choir, most notably, the change in directing.  “With the transition from Ron [Matthews] being the director to now Derek [Kostovick] being the director with Ron becoming President, Turning Point has changed a little bit.  We toured not as much my sophomore year, and then Derek became the director, and we started reaching out to churches and reaching out to different venues to go and perform at, so we started touring a bit more,” Thomas said.

Since Turning Point is a full year commitment, the members of Turning Point arrive on campus a week early for “Turning Point Camp” where they not only learn most of their music for their performances, but bond with each other and get to know one another better.  “Derek likes to play team-building games, so then we get to know each other.  That’s kind of why it’s an audition-only group, because you have to be able to blend with the other people both vocally and personality-wise, and you have to know how to read music,” Thomas said.

Thomas has been able to perform at many different churches and venues throughout her time in Turning Point, but her favorite memory from touring and performing happened close to home, when the choir went to Heath Village in Hackettstown, New Jersey, Thomas’ hometown. “It was just funny to see people’s reactions to the middle-of-nowhere New Jersey when most people think Jersey is like a big city.  That was really fun. We got to drive into Jersey, we sang for the residents at the nursing home, and then my parents brought pizza, so it was great to be back home and really funny to see everyone be like, “Oh my gosh, there’s farms in New Jersey?” Thomas said.

For the rest of the semester, Turning Point has several more performances at churches around the area as well as a performance at Christkindlmarkt, a large Christmas market in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where the choir also performed last year, and a performance at the Kimmel Center in conjunction with Eastern’s University Choir, the choir from Church of the Savior here in Wayne, and Jubilate Deo.  “It gets really intense this time of year, but I’m really excited for all of [the performances],” Thomas said.

If you are interested in potentially auditioning for Turning Point in the spring, Thomas advises that you come prepared and come early for your audition.  “We have time slots for people to sign up for.  Come five to ten minutes early for the audition so you can kind of calm down in that space, and also if we’re running ahead of time, then it’s good for you to be there,” Thomas said.  She also mentioned how it’s important to not act nervous, since everyone in the room has been in your shoes before and wants to create a relaxed and comforting environment for you.  Ultimately, “if someone wants to do performance, [Turning Point] is something to look into,” Thomas said.

If you would like more information about Turning Point and their performances, you can contact the director, Derek Kostovick, with any questions you have by sending an email to dkostovi@eastern.edu.

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