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Colorado Springs high school students invited to perform at Carnegie Hall

November 1, 2017 Updated: November 3, 2017 at 6:13 am
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photo - FILE. This August 3, 2007 file photo show New York's Carnegie Hall, which is one of the city's 33,000 landmarked buildings. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
FILE. This August 3, 2007 file photo show New York's Carnegie Hall, which is one of the city's 33,000 landmarked buildings. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File) 

Everyone knows the best of the best perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

But so do the up-and-comings.

Palmer High School's Chamber Singers will start practicing this month for a May appearance on one of the world's most famous stages.

It's a first for Colorado Springs School District 11's Palmer High, which was founded in 1875.

"As far as we know, it's the first time in Palmer High's history to perform in Carnegie Hall," said choir director Jeff Peckham. "The kids are really looking forward to it."

The group was invited by Frank Eychaner, associate professor and director of choral studies and vocal activities at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

Eychaner previously taught for eight years at Colorado Christian University and is a friend of Peckham's. He will direct the performers.

The invitation was a surprise, Peckham said, and exciting news after last year's cancellation of a Barry Manilow concert in Colorado Springs, at which Palmer's Chamber Singers were supposed to provide backup vocals.

The group has a long tradition of success, Peckham said, having brought home a gold medal from a competitive festival at Disneyland and top honors two years ago from a New Orleans competition.

"This is a well-prepared choir," he said

An ensemble from Gunnison, along with choirs from five other states, will form an en masse collective that will sing Morten Lauridsen's "Lux Aeterna" at Carnegie Hall. The American composer's works have received five Grammy nominations and today are among the most performed worldwide.

"The piece has several small movements in it that last about 28 minutes," Peckham said. "So it's considered a major work."

A professional orchestra will accompany the vocalists.

Nineteen students from the Chamber Singers and six adults including Peckham will travel to New York on May 16-20. Students will have three days of rehearsals before the big event.

The performance is part of the 35th season of concerts by MidAmerican Productions.

"Each one of these concerts draws an audience of over 3,000," Peckham said.

Students are raising money for the trip and have received a donation from the Palmer Alumni Association.

Member Jay Smith said he's excited for the students' "incredible opportunity."

Anyone who wants to donate may send a tax-deductible check to Palmer High School, c/o Jeff Peckham, 301 N. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80903, or email Jeffrey.peckham@d11.org.

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