Austin Is Home to the Most Adorable Conductor

For 23 years running, Chorus Austin has hosted the annual Sing-it-Yourself Messiah in which audiences are invited to sing along to the choruses of Handel’s masterpiece.

Every year, the Chorus also raffles off tickets for a chance to conduct the chorus, soloists and orchestra in an encore of the Hallelujah Chorus. For many music fans, this is a dream come true.

This year, as conductor Ryan Heller drew one ticket from a basket full of tickets, the audience looked around as Rachel Wilson was announced the lucky winner.

“That’s me!” a shriek came from the front row.

Dressed in a cute, bright red dress, Rachel moved toward the podium to claim her prize and conduct the more than 100 musicians on the stage.

The audience gasped with excitement when they realized what they were witnessing.

First grader Rachel Wilson conducts Chorus Austin in Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

You see, Rachel, a first grader at Regents School of Austin, is only 6 years old. And she was about to make her conducting debut.

“I was so excited,” she told us. “I kept telling my mom I was going to win!  I felt like I was the only kid in class that day and I got chosen the whole time.”

But she wasn’t nervous on the podium. “I was just trying to focus on the tempo,” she spoke like a true professional. “I was just having so much fun.  I wanted to keep conducting more.  I just couldn’t believe it!”

This was only the second classical music concert Rachel had attended.

“The first one was in a different language, but I still liked it,” she said. “But this one was better because I love the Hallelujah Chorus. I have the Hallelujah Chorus on my piano upstairs [the family has a keyboard upstairs with a demo of Handel’s famous chorus] and I love to dance to it.”

“I love all the instruments and the singing, but I like conducting the best,” she explains. “Sometimes its hard to sit still that long.  I would rather conduct than just listen.”

Her father sings in the bass section of Chorus Austin and entered her in the raffle at the last minute, right before the end of intermission.

So what was the most fun about filling the conductor’s shoes?

“Conducting my daddy!” Rachel exclaimed.

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Comments & Reviews on ATXclassical

  1. Amy Wilson says:

    Thank you Marc, for a great article! I love the hugging photo at the end:) What an amazing experience this has been.

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