Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Britt Hochhausler
PORTALES – Eighteen Eastern New Mexico University singers recently fulfilled a dream by performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City.About two years Jonathan Griffith, the principal conductor-in-residence in New York for MidAmerica Productions, contacted Dr. Gerig, Director of Choral Activities at ENMU, and invited him to consider bringing students to perform at Carnegie Hall. MidAmerica Productions arranges concerts for ensembles and solo artists from across the country.
"We decided not to go when we were first invited because the timing was not right. We were already committed to performing that spring with the Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus. I suggested to Dr. Griffith that the next year might work better for us," Dr. Gerig said. "When the invitation came again we were ready." Dr. Gerig opened up the opportunity to students in University Singers and Chamber Singers who showed interest and could self-finance the trip.
The students also had to do their share of work to go on the trip.
"We did a lot of fundraising and had several weekend rehearsals in preparation for the trip," Dr. Gerig said.
The 18 students from ENMU, plus Dr. Gerig and his wife, joined eight other choirs from across the country for the Carnegie Hall performance. In total, there were 290 singers performing together, plus an orchestra. They had two days of rehearsals from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then were free for the rest of the day. After rehearsals, students were off to see the sights in New York City.
"The students got to see the Empire State Building, NBC Studios and Ground Zero. They rode the subway to Little Italy and Chinatown and attended the opera and some Broadway shows," Dr. Gerig said.
The students performed in Carnegie Hall Jan. 20. Late that same night they took a cruise of the Hudson River that Mid-America arranged, arriving back at the hotel at 1:30 a.m. The next morning at 7:30 they headed for the airport and their trip back home, arriving in Portales Tuesday evening, exhausted but grateful for the experience. A number of the students are already talking about heading for the Big Apple again when they can.