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Chamber Choir visits Carnegie Hall

After an exhausting four-hour rehearsal, Chamber Choir stood on the stage in front of a mass of two thousand people at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Chamber Choir spent five days in New York over spring break and performed Mozart’s Coronation Mass April 4 at Carnegie Hall as part of an 150-voice choir that included students from Phoenix, Boulder, and Mobile.
“We had to learn more than a half hour of music on top of our regular schedule,” Music Instructor Ernie Scarbrough said. “The girls learned an incredible amount of music this year.”
Chamber Choir was chosen to augment the choir with its sopranos and altos, and began to prepare the Mozart piece, written in Latin and over a half-hour long, in January. In New York, the choir participated in four-hour long daily rehearsals. The choir was conducted by Dr. Gregory Gentry, the director of choral performance at Arizona State University School of Music. Scarbrough was a student of Gentry’s last summer at the university, where he was studying conducting and choral pedagogy.
The rehearsals were exhausting but very fulfilling, Caitie ’11 said.
“We took it seriously. We learned a lot from a renowned teacher and enjoyed ourselves. They didn’t expect us to be perfect, but they demanded way more than they might have if it was a school concert. We had to keep our focus for a long time,” she said.
“Participating in really intense rehearsals made me feel like a professional musician,” Miranda ’10 said. “Singing in Carnegie Hall was amazing – we all had shivers.”
The experience let Chamber Choir showcase its talent in one of the best music venues, Scarbrough said.
“You do not go away unchanged from an experience that large. It was one of the best acoustic places in the world – there’s no comparison to that,” he said.
The performance also offered another opportunity.
“They sang with boys for the first time, which went extremely well,” Scarbrough said.
Traveling to New York gave choir members a chance to bond.
“There’s something about going cross-country that bonds you as a team,” Miranda said.
The group took a boat ride around the Statue of Liberty at 1 a.m. and saw “Next to Normal,” a musical that, although dark, led to lots of laughs among Chamber Choir members.
“We all had fun trying to imitate the lead singer, Alice Ripley,” Amanda ’11 said.
The girls also got to explore.
“We had group meetings and then were let loose in New York City,” Miranda said.