Members of the Stephen F. Austin State University choral union and women's choir are preparing to enter an "empire state of mind" after accepting an invitation to sing at Lincoln Center in New York City next year.
Representatives from MidAmerica Productions invited the choirs to sing in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in March 2012 for a couple of reasons, said David Howard, SFA associate director of choirs.
"The conductor of the performance company in New York knows me, and they were looking for choirs," he said. "They also knew about the reputation of the School of Music and the choral program here at SFA."
Singing has always been a passion for Kevin McClain, a vocal performance major who has been involved with choir since middle school. Performing right down the street from the Metropolitan Opera will be something McClain will never forget, he said.
"The opportunity to go sing in New York is so rare," McClain said. "Not too many people get to do this. I just feel so privileged to sing somewhere most people say they haven't sung before."
Lauren Davis, an English major, has participated in choir since sixth grade, and she wanted to continue with it in college.
"I sang with my high school choir in New York, and I loved it so much," she said. "Going back with my college choir will be an even greater experience."
Nicci Perry's mother inspired her involvement with choir at a young age, and she loved it, she said.
"I've never been to New York City, so it's going to be a great experience for me, singing or not singing," Perry said.
Both choirs sing choral music and Western art music from Renaissance to contemporary works, and the women's choir focuses on contemporary compositions, Howard said.
"Both groups are open to music majors and non-music majors," he said. "We have people from all over campus."
It's always helpful if someone has experience, or sang in a high school, church or junior high choir, but even that is not necessary, Howard said.
"If new students who are interested come by, we chat for a little bit and I hear them sing to make sure we have them in just the right place," he said. "We have a couple concerts each semester, and the New York trip will be an additional one next year."
Anyone from the community is also welcome to come on the trip.
"Anybody who wants to come to New York and listen to us perform or even go as a singer is welcome," Howard said. "They would probably have to come rehearse with us, but we can be flexible and make it work. We want everyone to have the opportunity."
The total cost of the trip is $1,700, which includes roundtrip airfare, transportation, hotel accommodations, a post-concert cruise and dinner in New York harbor, admission to the Empire State Building observation deck and a gift coupon for Macy's. The first $300 is due April 29, but participants can still sign up afterward.
Interested community members can contact Howard at 468-1148, or send an e-mail message to email@example.com.
Marie Leonard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.