Online trolling. It isn’t always despicable. Sometimes it’s magical.
When Steve Harter, minister of music and arts at First United Methodist Church, answered his phone in December, he didn’t expect to come away with a chance for his high school auditioned chorale to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall in November.
While surfing online, a representative of the Distinguished Concerts International New York, a concert producer in New York, found a livestream of Harter’s 12-person choir performing “Lessons and Carols” and was impressed. She asked permission to submit the video as an audition piece to their board in hopes of including the kids in a concert this year. It was a success. The group will perform Nov. 26 with conductor and composer Mark Hayes.
“There’s certainly pressure that goes with this,” said Harter. “I need to have them prepared. It’s an honor because, quite honestly and unfortunately, a lot of places look down on church music as second-rate. This helps to put some validity to our work, being invited to do this.”
The 12 students, plus three who were auditioned into the group in the spring, will join an auditioned choir at Carnegie Hall composed of 250 kids and adults from around the country to perform two of Hayes’ major works: “Gloria” and the world premiere of his latest piece, “Hodie Christus Natus Est,” which features the classic Christmas carols “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
“That’s the carrot being dangled out in front,” said Harter. “Often when well-known composers have new work, it will be performed in a series at Carnegie Hall.”
Local audiences needn’t feel left out. Harter’s adult choir and the high school chorale will perform those same pieces three weeks later at a Christmas concert at FUMC. It will be the Colorado premiere of Hayes’ new work.
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