CSC Chorus Shines at Carnegie Hall

As we got off the bus and started to walk towards the private warm up area, it hit the members of the Castleton Collegiate Choral that they were about to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity. Performing at New York’s Carnegie Hall is an opportunity that few ever get to experience.

The chorus arrived in New York City on Friday May 19, staying at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, located next door to Grand Central Station.

On the first night, we were free to do as we pleased. Saturday and Sunday were filled with rehearsals.

We were one of several groups of college and high school students from across the country to perform Gabriele Faure’s Requiem.

The director for our group would be Dr. Dennis Cox, the director of choral activities at the University of Maine.

The rehearsals had been intense, but they would prove to be well worth it when we made our way onto the stage for the dress rehearsal.

The dress rehearsal was quick and professional. We sang our song and got off the stage. The orchestra was also as ultra professional as would be expected from union musicians.

One musician who was seated directly in font of my position in the front row particularly interested me.

He only had a few bars of music to play towards the middle of the piece. So during the parts he was not being used, he sat there reading a hockey article. He did this both during the dress rehearsal and the actual performance!

One thing that immediately struck me was how the sound carried throughout the hall. It was like nothing I had ever heard before. Any coughs or whispers could easily carry to the back of the hall.

“I stood on the stage and just said wow. I couldn’t believe that I was standing on a stage that had housed so many legends and great performers before me. It was simply awe inspiring,” said tenor Michael Stevens.

After the dress rehearsal, we had some free time before the performance, where we were the second of the three groups to go on.

The performance went off without a hitch. In fact, we may have saved our best run-through of the piece for the big moment.

“I was impressed with the behavior and professionalism of our choir. We really did our college proud,” said Castleton accompanist and professor Sarah McQuarrie, who also sang as part of the choir, along with fellow CSC professors Ronald Sherwin and Jason Anderson.

After the concert, we went on a dinner cruise past the statue of liberty and then would depart the next day.

Castleton choral director Ronald Sherwin said that he was very pleased with how the trip turned out.

“Anytime you can get your singers invited to perform on a world-class stage with internationally known soloists and orchestras it can’t help but benefit your program,” said Sherwin. “It changes your singers’ lives, and when high schools learn you were invited to Carnegie Hall, it makes their students want to study at your college.

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