I recently learned of the Peninsula High choir’s plans to perform in New York’s Carnegie Hall in April. PHS choir director Alison Ellis said Gig Harbor High’s choir would also be there.
Ellis explained that when Dr. Ed Hughes, a conductor and composer, retired to Gig Harbor five years ago, “our choirs jumped at a chance to adopt such a knowledgeable musician and professor.”
“Dr. Hughes graciously volunteered for years in our schools working with young singers,” Ellis said. “He accepted an adjunct professorship at the University of Puget Sound and is conductor of the UPS chorale. When invited to conduct John Rutter’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2017, he invited PHS and GHHS choral students to join him.”
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The students will travel to New York in April, rehearsing with a professional orchestra and soloists and perform at Carnegie Hall.
PHS senior Baily Martin said, “I’ve always felt choir could take me to great places. With this New York trip, choir is taking me to one of the greatest places in America.”
To classmate Sarah Shong, “the opportunity to sing in New York will be the most memorable experience of my high school career. It will forever impact my life.”
PHS students have already participated in two car washes to raise funds for this event. They’ve taken on both summer jobs and part-time jobs during the school year and have planned many other fundraisers to help with the costs.
“Choir is a place where I can go and just be me,” junior Emily Poundstone said. “This class is so accepting and our choir going to New York is just another way that this class is expanding and opening opportunities for my future.”
Classmate Marleyna Beene feels “choir class is a safe place, the class I’m excited to be in every day. I’ve met the most genuine, talented and kind people doing something I love to do. The atmosphere is so friendly and so special. Its nothing like any other high school course you could take.”
There are more than 40 students planning to do Carnegie, and each of them is working hard not only to learn the challenging 64-page piece of music, but to raise funds to afford the amazing opportunity.
“We have several upcoming fundraisers we hope will aid our efforts,” Ellis said.
Among these are: Applebee’s Flapjack Breakfast, from 8 to 10 a.m. Oct. 15 at 4827 Point Fosdick Dr NW, Gig Harbor.
Please buy a ticket from a student, or just show up for a sumptuous breakfast for $10.
From 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 1, bring a PHS coupon with you to eat at Fondi Pizzeria in the Uptown Shopping Complex and the choir receives a percentage of your payment.
The choir is also hosting a classy dinner from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and at 7 p.m. Nov. 22. There will also be a concert and silent auction. Tickets will be available at PHS beginning Oct 21.
Questions? Please email Ellis at email@example.com. For information, try Twitter (@Peninsula_Choir) or Facebook (PHS Choir Boosters).
“Choir has given me a place of belonging,” junior Carlie Rogers said. “I have made awesome friends and learned how to work diligently as a team to create something beautiful.”
Stay tuned for GHHS choir’s story next week.
Let’s help our kids honor our communities at Carnegie Hall!
Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.