In this Dispatch file photo, Columbus Girlchoir director Cherry Dunn conducts a rehearsal for the choir for young women. Twenty-six Girlchoir members will depart Tuesday for New York City and a performance at Carnegie Hall. Photo by: Dispatch file photo
May 19, 2018 10:02:47 PM
Christina Clark has plenty on her plate. After presenting a senior voice recital May 15 and graduating from Columbus High School over the weekend -- and East Mississippi Community College's dual enrollment program before that -- the 18-year-old honor student has to worry about what to pack. She's not alone. Clark and 25 other Columbus Girlchoir members will board a plane Tuesday for New York City. They have a prestigious engagement to keep -- at Carnegie Hall.
Distinguished Concerts International New York City (DCINY) has invited the Columbus Girlchoir and its director, Cherry Dunn, to participate in a performance of Music for Treble Voices in Carnegie Hall's Isaac Stern Auditorium Friday, May 25.
"I was in the junior choir when the Girlchoir was invited to New York before, so I wasn't old enough. I was wishing it was me," Clark said. "Now it is, and I'm so excited to go."
Girlchoir members will join other choristers from around the country to form a choir about 120 members-strong. They will be directed by J. Reese Norris, clinician for the residency and director of choirs at Hernando Middle School. Norris is also co-founder and co-artistic director of CoroRio, a program to help children of all backgrounds succeed in music.
Jonathan Griffith, artistic director and principal conductor for DCINY said, "The Columbus Girlchoir received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers as well as the exceptional recommendation of J. Reese Norris."
Dunn said, "I'm just thankful the community supports this choir so that we're able to do things like this. I think it shows we have wide support for what we do."
The Golden Triangle singers will spend five days and four nights in New York City, much of it in preparation for the concert.
"Not all of the time is spent in rehearsals, since there is so much history and culture to see in New York City," said Griffith.
Senior homeschool student Jenna Williams is thrilled about the opportunities.
"It's my first time to fly, so it's like a whole big new experience," she said. "Singing at Carnegie Hall, seeing the major sights, going to a Broadway play -- 'Phantom of the Opera,' my all-time favorite! -- I still don't know how to feel. It's mind-blowing."
Friday's performance will include original compositions by Norris as well as an eclectic selection of songs, including a peace hymn from South Africa, Dunn explained.
Williams said, "We're crunching on the hard songs. Some are very difficult; we're singing a song in Spanish that's very fast and singing songs from different languages, so some of the pronunciation is difficult."
"It is quite an honor just to be invited to perform in New York," said Griffith. "These wonderful musicians not only represent a high quality of music and education, but they also become ambassadors for the entire community. This is an event of extreme pride for everybody and deserving of the community's recognition and support."
Dunn added, "It all just widens their view of the world. ... I think they are getting more and more excited as it gets closer."
Learn more about the Columbus Girlchoir at columbusgirlchoir.net and follow them on Facebook.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.