St Columba Anglican School's chamber choir prepares to sing at New York's Carnegie Hall

AMAZING: Marie van Gend and the Chamber Choir of Saint Columba Anglican School (SCAS) has been offered the chance of a lifetime, to perform at the world famous Carnegie Hall in New York.
AMAZING: Marie van Gend and the Chamber Choir of Saint Columba Anglican School (SCAS) has been offered the chance of a lifetime, to perform at the world famous Carnegie Hall in New York.

Students from the St Columba Anglican School’s chamber choir are counting down the days before they head to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The group who found out they were going in November 2017, will in perform in the premiere of a major composition by international composer, Paul Mealor.

The choir, who have voices like angels, had performed Mr Mealor’s music at one of their vocal showcases earlier in 2017, taped the performance and put it on YouTube.

Concert organisers in New York were searching for choirs that could sing Mr Mealor’s challenging music and discovered the video of their performance.

Conductor Marie van Gend recalls the moment she received an email inviting the SCAS Chamber Choir to sing at Carnegie Hall. 

“I thought it was a hoax so I actually deleted the email and forgot about it. Then they contacted me again via the telephone and I began to realise this was real,” she said.

“The students were elated to learn that they were going to perform an original composition by one of their heroes, in arguably the greatest concert hall in the world, and that he was going to teach it to them and conduct it.

“They have worked so hard to get to this point and I am just so proud of them.”

The piece they will be performing will be Mr Mealor’s ‘Requiem’ which looks at ‘the beauty of sacrifice’ and it will be performed on November 11, Remembrance Day. 

Students Jono Kosneier, Melanie Jenkins and Matthew Hingston are among the group going, and said they were all very excited to be given the opportunity.

“Obviously we all love singing and to be given an opportunity like this is quite amazing,” Jono said.

“It is still incredible to think that nearly a year ago we all went out for dinner with Ms van Gend to find out a ‘surprise’ but never in our dreams did we think it would be a trip to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall.”

“Chamber music is gorgeous but is quite challenging to learn, so we have all had to do a lot of practice outside our weekly session as a group,” Melanie said.

“It is special to know that we will actually be in the choir that will be conducted by Mr Mealor at Carnegie Hall – which still doesn’t seem real.”

“My three brothers were in the chamber choir so it was always something I wanted to be a part of when I came to this school and for us to be found from a YouTube video and asked to sing in New York is phenomenal,” Matthew said.

“It really does put Port Macquarie on the map as somewhere that competes on the world stage and to be recognised as being the best is cool.

“A huge thanks has to go to Ms van Gend and Ms Wills who have been so great helping us prepare for the trip.

“I think this is the culmination of everything Ms van Gend has done for the chamber choir over the years and it is so great that we get to do this for her.”

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