Choir to Carnegie again!

By: By Corinne Lewis Special to The News Messenger
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Five days in New York would sound like an amazing trip to anyone, but for the Lincoln High School’s advanced choir, it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The Lincoln High choir was invited back for the second time in three years to perform on the Carnegie Hall stage as well as to visit many other well-known sites such as the 9/11 memorial, Radio City Music Hall, the Cotton Club, the Natural History Museum, the Stardust Diner, Time Square, the Empire State building and to see the Broadway show, “Annie.”

The fun didn’t stop there, though. After touring the Twin Towers site, touring Central Park and shopping in Times Square, the choir went 70 stories up in the Rockefeller Plaza and then 83 stories up in the Empire State building.

And who could go to New York without visiting Grand Central Station? Not the choir!

Later on, while looking around Grand Central Station and listening to some of its history, the choir decided to take advantage of the amazing acoustics that the building had to offer with an impromptu flash mob. The group sang one of their favorite songs, “Shut De Do.” Passersby were so impressed that they took pictures of the group, while others stopped to record and give a huge round of applause at the end of the song.

As much fun as that sounds, the choir worked very hard before the trip to learn the challenging music and, on arriving, rehearse with 400 students from choirs throughout the United States and Canada, for one hour and then six hours the next day.

It seems that no matter how well planned a trip is, there is always some sort of surprise thrown in at one point or another. A gospel singer came onto the stage, as it was Sunday Gospel Night, when the choir members ate brunch next to the stage at the Cotton Club. Little did they know that they were to be invited up on the stage by the performer to sing backup! The gospel singer had no idea that the teenagers she had just invited to the stage were a choir or that they were to perform at Carnegie Hall that night. After finding out this news, she happily announced, “Well guys, before performing at Carnegie Hall, you all performed with me at the Cotton Club!”

On Sunday night (April 7),  the students came together on the Carnegie Hall stage and sang six songs that they had been practicing for months and pulled together as a group in just a few short hours. The concert, although only lasting about a half hour, went very well, as shown by the standing ovation at the end of the performance.

 “While in New York, I realized that what we do is not just for ourselves,” said Erik McCracken, a Lincoln High junior and choir member. “We don’t just sing to make us happy, we sing for other people, we sing to show them what we have to say.”

“When I was on the Carnegie Hall stage and I looked down into the faces of the people watching and saw the tears rolling down their faces because the words we were singing were so true,” McCracken added, “it reminded me that singing is not just for me and it’s not just for you, it’s for everyone.”

As if the Cotton Club and Carnegie Hall weren’t enough, the choir group took a backstage tour of Radio City Music Hall and sang onstage for the tour guide. They sang “Walk in Jerusalem,” one of the songs they performed at Carnegie Hall the previous night. Everyone was very excited to sing on this stage where many of their favorite performers had sung, such as Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Justin Bieber, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.

While making the most of their last day in New York, the students were given four hours to go shopping and eat dinner before setting off to the John F. Kennedy airport for their six-hour flight back home to Lincoln.

Corinne Lewis is a Lincoln High School junior, ZebraTales editor and school choir member.