The St. Bernard Academy Choir will experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Sunday, Feb. 19, when they grace the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City and perform as part of the “Voices in the Hall Festival Chorus.”
“Very few people get this opportunity, and we just feel so truly blessed and grateful to be going,” said Renee Thompson, St. Bernard Academy music teacher. “It really fits our mission. It’s the story of God.
“The fact that we can bring the good news to the world on a world-class stage means a lot to us,” she said.
To make sure the students can embrace this unique opportunity, several parents have organized a GoFundMe page to help offset some of the costs. Taking into consideration a hotel for three nights, airfare, performance and workshop fees, the chance to see a Broadway show, meals, and other sightseeing opportunities, it is estimated to cost around $2,000 per student.
As of Wednesday, Jan. 18, $3,875 of the $10,000 goal has been raised.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for our students,” Thompson said. “Any support is appreciated.”
The opportunity for the choir to perform at Carnegie Hall presented itself last fall while Thompson was speaking with her friend John Angotti, director of music and liturgy at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Franklin, who is a headliner for the concert at Carnegie Hall.
“It was just on my heart to say, ‘Would you be interested in having a children’s choir come and sing,’” Thompson explained. “He immediately said yes, and it just went from there.”
The choir, made up of 45 students ranging from fifth through eighth grade, has been hard at work rehearsing their three performance pieces: “Will You Be Ready?”, “What Wondrous Love is This?”, and “Joy in My Heart”.
“They are so excited. They have been very focused, especially now that it’s the New Year,” Thompson said of the students. “They’ve done great. They’re amazing young musicians and singers, and I am truly proud of them.
“I hope the students experience a real sense of wonder in this place. Being with phenomenal musicians on one of the most famous stages in the world is a chance of a lifetime, which will challenge them, and these students are rising up to it,” she said. “When you experience excellence, it changes you, and I hope it will inspire them to achieve excellence in all that they do.”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/nh6fs-carnegie-hall-concert. A check can also be sent to Carnegie Hall Choir, ATTN: Wendy Buntin, 5346 Green Valley Court, Nashville, TN 37220.