JSU Choir to Perform at Carnegie Hall This Spring
by Brett Buckner
In 1891, when steel magnate Andrew Carnegie dedicated the New York City concert hall bearing his name, he proclaimed that it was probable the venue would “intertwine itself with the history of our country.”
More than 131 years later, performing at Carnegie Hall is so prestigious it’s considered the pinnacle of an artist’s career. Students in the JSU A Cappella Choir are starting their careers out on a high note. The ensemble will perform at Carnegie on March 27, 2023 at 8 p.m., as part of the Debut Series sponsored by Manhattan Concert Productions.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be invited,” said Dr. Eliezer Yanson, Jr., JSU associate professor of music and director of choral activities. “There’s a very strict audition process. They don’t let just anyone perform at Carnegie Hall, so it's a big deal.”
This spring, the 40-plus member ensemble will have 28 minutes to perform six selections. The repertoire will include:
- “Haec Dies” by William Byrd
- “Umawit Kayo sa Panginoon” by Joy Nilo
- “Abide” by Dan Forrest
- “Jagdlied” by Felix Mendelssohn
- “Jabberwocky” by Sam Pottle
- “O! What a Beautiful City,” arranged by Shawn Kirchner
The choir will preview its Carnegie selections on campus during its spring concert.
For Yanson, who is now in his fourth year on JSU’s faculty, this will mark a third appearance at Carnegie. Having performed at the famed venue in 2015 and 2018, he understands what this opportunity means for his students.
“I treat my rehearsals the same way I treat performances, but clearly this is something special,” he said. “I want the students to appreciate that, to respect this opportunity. It’s a chance for them to showcase their talents and what they’ve been working so hard for. You only get one shot at this.”
Yanson submitted a recording from the choir’s performance last spring, which served as its audition for Manhattan Concert Productions. He said being invited for the Debut Series was the culmination of a lot of hard work and practice.
“I felt, after last year, it was time to audition for Carnegie Hall,” he said. “These students have earned it. We want it to be beautiful and memorable for everyone, not just for us but for the audience and for JSU. This is something everyone can be proud of and be part of.”
Dr. Rachel Park, assistant professor of piano, will also take the stage at Carnegie Hall in March 2023. Originally scheduled to perform at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in 2020, her appearance was postponed due to the pandemic. It has been rescheduled to March 13, 2023, at 8 p.m.
For JSU alumni and friends living in the New York area – or other members of the JSU family able to make the trip – tickets for Carnegie concerts go on sale at www.carnegiehall.org around 60 days before events.
Additionally, those who wish to help the choir fund its travel to New York are invited to make a donation at www.jsu.edu/givejsu under the fund: “Friends of Music: Choirs.”