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The Advanced Choir Sings at Carnegie
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Sunday, January 31, 2016
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GHS Chorus Entertains The Big Apple, Takes In The Sights

Sarah R. Gregory | Posted: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 10:45 am

The last few days have been memorable ones for students in Greeneville High School's Advanced Chorus. Half of the group returned to Greeneville yesterday after traveling to New York City on Friday for a performance at Carnegie Hall. The second group is scheduled to return this evening, after their flight yesterday was canceled. While Winter Storm Jonas did force a few changes to the singers' itinerary, Monday's show at Carnegie Hall was unaffected. The GHS chorus performed seven pieces while joining award winning artists Dailey & Vincent and other ensembles for the world premiere of "Mortals and Angels: A Bluegrass Te Deum." The show fused traditional bluegrass hymns with a classical structure and incorporated ancient scripture and contemporary prayer. "The concert was beyond words," said Choir Director Kathryn May. Her students agreed. "This entire experience didn't seem real until I walked onto the stage at Carnegie Hall," said Nancy Katherine Burkey, a junior who sings second alto. "I couldn't believe that so many seats would be filled to watch us sing. The auditorium was beautiful, and I felt very honored to have the opportunity to sing there." Mark McKee, a senior who sings second tenor, echoed those sentiments. "I had no prior expectations for Carnegie Hall itself, but if I did, they would nevertheless be surpassed. Carnegie Hall is a music lover's dream," McKee said. He added that the entire trip was a dream­like experience. "We have Mr. [Scott] Niswonger and the surrounding community to thank for so quickly and so generously turning our chorus' dream into reality," he said. "The snowstorm was magical. Trudging through the streets in the snow made it feel as if we were in a movie."

While students embarked on their journey for the Carnegie Hall performance, they did have opportunities for plenty of other fun activities while visiting New York City. Near record snowfall in the city provided a perfect opportunity for students to throw down in a snowball fight in Central Park, while a visit to Times Square provided an opportunity for an impromptu concert. The weather-related closure of one restaurant led the students to Ellen's Stardust Diner, on Broadway, where the wait staff entertain guests by singing. Plans for the group to see the Broadway production of "Finding Neverland," were altered. Instead, they saw "Les Miserables," one of Broadway's longest running and most famed shows. "New York City is large and busy, but exciting," said Allison Chudina, a sophomore who sings first alto. "My favorite part of the trip was seeing 'Les Mis' because I love musicals. The blizzard was freezing, but beautiful. And, Carnegie was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was just an amazing experience that I will never forget."

Check out their photos here. 

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