Choir performs in New York City

The Advanced Chorale and Concert Choir travel to NYC over Spring Break for performances at Queens College and Carnegie Hall


Andrew Payne

Choir went to the Museum of Natural History, shopped on Fifth Avenue and saw the show ‘Hadestown’ on Broadway.

Marley Helfer, Copy Editor

After a year of planning and preparation, two of the school’s choirs traveled to New York City [NYC] to perform in the Choirs of America Festival at Queens College from April 12-16.

The program’s Concert Choir and Advanced Chorale sang at Queens College and Carnegie Hall for world-class composers and collaborated with Harvard University’s choir along with a middle school program from Kentucky. 

“Carnegie Hall is really the pinnacle of any musician’s dream,” Courtney Rowley, choir director and music department head, said. “It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students to perform there and [to] collaborate with these amazing choirs and amazing conductors.”

This rings true for many students in the school’s program who have been working towards this kind of performance for years. 

“[There’s] a little joke I always heard growing up where people would say, ‘Hey, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? You practice practice practice’ … And now, we practice practice practice and now we’re going to Carnegie Hall,” Miriam Mathan, sophomore and choir member, said. 

Ballard’s choir collaborated with choirs from Harvard University and a Kentucky middle school to perform the world premier of “To Repair” by Black American Composer Tesfa Wondemagegnehu. “To Repair” is a four movement piece, addressing the racial inequity and disparities that exist within the country.

“It’s a pretty powerful work, we’ve been working on it for a few months,” Rowley said. “We’re just really excited to get to collaborate with the composer and with Harvard, and give the … [world] premier of this work.”

In addition to performances, the program also went to the Museum of Natural History, shopped on Fifth Avenue and saw the show ‘Hadestown’ on Broadway.

The choir program was initially supposed to travel to NYC in April of 2020, but due to COVID-19, the trip was postponed. After three years of travel restrictions, the program was finally able to take the trip this spring. 

“There were a lot of students that have now graduated that were supposed to go on this trip but never got to, so now that it’s finally happening it should be super exciting,” Casey Middleton, senior and choir member, said before the trip.

Before the pandemic, each music program would take a trip out of state every couple of years. In the past, Rowley has taken the program to New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“On the off years when we’re not flying, we might go to Portland or Vancouver or somewhere more local,” Rowley said. “[But] it’s been a while since any of our groups have gotten to take a big trip.” 

This long-awaited trip required a year of organization, from fundraising to working out travel and meal logistics. In addition to Rowley, the program’s accompanist Serena Chin along with eight volunteer parent chaperones traveled with the choir.

“It’s a lot of work,” Rowley said. “But it’s worth it to be able to provide this incredible experience for my students.”