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Wayne Post
  • Pal-Mac choir heading to Carnegie Hall

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  • PALMYRA — She almost deleted the email when she first saw it while working late one day preparing for the annual Palmyra-Macedon Select Choir Madrigal Dinner.
    It was a good thing she didn’t.
    The email was an invitation for the Select Choir to perform at the eighth annual Performing Arts Educators Invitational at Carnegie Hall in New York City in January.
    Choir Director Jill Davis said she didn’t recognize the email’s sender and thought it was spam, but then a familiar name in the body of the email caught her eye: Peggy Dettwiler, director of choral activities at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania — who was Davis’ conducting teacher while she attained her undergraduate degree at the school. Dettwiler has heard recordings of the choir, Davis said, and she will be attending this year’s Madrigal Dinner.
    The invitational will feature Dettwiler directing the award-winning Mansfield University Concert Choir, as well as performances by dance groups and other choirs and musical ensembles. Davis was honored to learn that it was Dettwiler who recommended the 32-voice Pal-Mac Select Choir to perform at this chance-of-a-lifetime event.
    “In my career I never ever, ever guessed I would ever perform there, conduct there,” Davis said of the coming Carnegie Hall performance. “To do so with this choir, my students, is amazing.”
    Two of Davis' former students from Pal-Mac are now members of the Mansfield Concert Choir and will also perform at Carnegie.
    Davis immediately contacted school officials, and the next several days were spent putting together all the details to make the trip possible. The performance will require added rehearsals and new music to learn. Davis said they are still doing some fine-tuning with all the details, but the choir will perform three pieces — two they know and will refine and a third students must learn. With the Madrigal Dinner this weekend and the winter concert following, the choir has a full schedule.
    She said there was no doubt the choir would accept the invitation. Located on Seventh Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, Carnegie Hall is “one of the most prestigious venues in the world for both classical music and popular music,” she said. Built in 1890 for $1.1 million paid for by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the concert hall is the most famous in the world.
    Her choir members are elated with the invitation.
    “It is absolutely surreal that we, the Pal-Mac Select Choir, will be traveling to New York City to perform on a world-renowned stage.” said junior Abby Snelling. “When Miss Davis told us that we were invited to go, my jaw literally dropped and then ten seconds later, I had a large smile on my face. The honor and gratifications that comes with being asked to perform in such an amazing place is overwhelming.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Sophomore Brittany Gerber said it’s “every performer’s dream to sing at Carnegie Hall, and I am pleased to say that the dream is coming true. I was able to go to New York City last week and saw Carnegie Hall. When we walked in the lobby area, all I could say was “Oh my gosh! We get to perform here!”
    “I am honored to be a part of this incredible event,” said sophomore Kevin Haschmann. “This is my first year in choir, and I never thought that this could happen. As an individual, I feel that I don’t deserve this, but I am going to work as hard as I can to perfect every small detail.”
    Students will leave on Jan. 17, take part in a technical rehearsal and perform on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 2 p.m. on Perelman Stage. Choir members will have a limited number of seats for friends and family to attend.
    When Davis shared the news, she said students were speechless. First there was silence and some tears, she said, then a collective sigh and they have all been buzzing about it since.
    “It’ll be one of those lifetime moments for the students,” Davis said. “It’s going to be quite a thrill.”
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