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College Students Sing at Carnegie Hall, New York!

February 25, 2016 at 10:10 AM

Last week, 12 students from the College Premier Choir, Kentoris travelled with their musical directors, Lachlan Craig and Gracie Francis to New York City. All members of the Auckland Youth Choir (directed by Mr Craig), they had been invited to perform by Distinguished Concerts International in ‘Mozart Mealor Martin – Music of Sorrow and Joy.’ 

The concert was held at the world famous Carnegie Hall and was set for Presidents’ Day in the United States.  The feature of the concert was the New York and World Premiere of two works by Welsh composer, Paul Mealor.  Mealor is very well known for his musical contributions to the Royal Wedding of Kate and William, as well as having #1 Singles in the UK through the BBC Programme ‘The Choir’.  Our students, as part of the Auckland Youth Choir, were fortunate enough to be singing Mealor’s Stabat Mater and Jubilate Deo under the baton of Grammy-Nominated Conductor, Dr James Jordan of Westminster Choir College in Princeton.  For our students, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to sing on the stage of one of the world’s finest and most prestigious concert venues. 

Isabella Denholm of Year 12 reflects on her time in New York.

“Megan Hilty was certainly right in saying that it’s ‘Every singer’s dream to get to Carnegie Hall.’ Last week for 12 of us lucky students and staff, this dream became a reality. We were invited with Auckland Youth Choir, to join other choirs from all around the world to perform in Carnegie Hall.  We joined with singers from Florida, Scotland, Ireland, Austria and the UK to sing two prestigious pieces composed by well-known composer, Paul Mealor. Mealor attended the rehearsals and we were lucky enough to hear all about the pieces we were singing and the true meanings and stories behind each one. It was an incredible experience to hear Mealor’s personal story and it made the songs we were singing, a whole lot more meaningful.  

It was a beautiful snowy day in Manhattan so we raced out to Central Park to experience the winter wonderland before that night’s excitement ahead. We then took the subway back to the hotel, all dripping wet from melted snowballs and the freezing cold -15 degree temperature!  

The next few hours that followed were surreal.  We were ushered into Carnegie Hall - and were all in awe. Everything about the hall was exquisite. From the intricate gold detailing to the insane acoustics, it all seemed like a dream. We sang music that couldn’t help but give us huge smiles, the joy each one of us felt was phenomenal, only to then watch as 3,500 people gave us a standing ovation at the end.  

The trip New York with AYC will always be an amazing once in a lifetime memory. I felt privileged to be able to join with the other choirs and I know I have made life-long friends. The experience singing in Carnegie Hall was truly mind-blowing and it was an experience that has already had a significant impact on my life. I, along with the other Saint Kentigern students on this trip, am very grateful to all who made it possible and we know this is a memory that will remain with us for life.’

The students represented the school, their country and themselves exceptionally well – and the signature NZ choral sound was extremely well received by the conductor, composer and audience members alike.  The tour party also featured Old Collegians, Harry Matheson, Samuel Downes, Theresa Hill, Chelsea Bostock and Nick MacQueen, giving a very strong Saint Kentigern presence to the event.

The Auckland Youth Choir will be giving the NZ Premiere of Mealor’s ‘Stabat Mater’ in May later this year and the College’s Massed Choir of over 100 voices will be giving the NZ Premiere of his Jubilate Deo at The Big Sing in June.

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