There’s an age-old musical question that asks, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Members of Victor Valley College’s College Singers and the Master Arts Chorale know the answer: lots of hard work. And that dedication has paid off.
The choir, which will be performing at the Spring Concert this weekend, was selected to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York City on March 17, 2019.
According to Dr. Karen Miskell, Music Department chair and vocal music director, it was Victor Valley College’s “reputation of having solid musicians and singers” that helped in the selection process.
Nearly all of the College Singers Master Arts Chorale members greeted the news with a mixture of joy and utter disbelief. “There were gasps from around the room,” said Alto singer Marlow Rennie, who was invited by Miskell to join the group. ” I didn’t think I’d get to Carnegie Hall. I thought I’d be a pop star, but I shockingly fell in love with choir.”
First Soprano Ruth Morgan noted that her first reaction was “a big old squeal and a squawk, but I was really, really excited, because I’m not a music major, so this isn’t something I ever really expected to be able to do.”
When Second Alto Cameron Deland heard the news, she became “really excited,” and relished the chance to perform with a “mature, well-developed” group. Bass singer and retired vocal music teacher Bruce Van Note said that, although he had traveled with his students to Canada and the western United States , “I’ve never had a chance to go to Carnegie Hall. It’s a bucket list thing for me.”
Among its members, the choir sees the opportunity both as a “once-in-a-lifetime thing” and a change to “get our name out there and help us be recognized.”
For Miskell, the concert hall’s history is irresistible: “We’ll be singing on a stage where Tchaikovsky conducted and performed,” she said.
The College Singers will preview their chosen Carnegie Hall selection at the Spring Concert on Saturday and Sunday. The piece, John Rutter’s “Magnificat”, was chosen because, as Miskell said, “We wanted something accessible, but new and exciting. It’s great for the audience because it’s a different take on the sacred texts. It uses Latin and Old English poetry. It’s a more contemporary sound.”