The magic of Carnegie Hall

17 06 2019

The Lincoln High School Harmonics choir from San Jose, CA, performed at the famous Carnegie Hall in New York City last Saturday night. What a thrill, not only to perform there, but to be part of a combined National Concert Chorus made up of ensembles from eleven schools (ranging from boys’ choir to some older adult singers), as well as to be conducted under the baton of two dynamic and sought-after conductors—Andrew W. Minear and Jeffrey Benson (read “rock star”).

For the theme “Reflections on Unity,” still images were projected onto the back wall of the stage, making use of the width and height of the wall for great impact.

L O V E   (photographed during a rehearsal)

For the finalé, the stage was not big enough for all the choirs and a full concert band plus two ballet dancers, so some singers sang on the audience level in front of the stage, and some were in the balcony—left, right, and center—for an amazing surround sound.

Red upholstered seats in Carnegie Hall

Oh, the acoustics of Carnegie Hall! They are so fine that Ricola cough drops are offered to theater-goers as they pass through the lobby to their seats. Nice touch!

The Lincoln High School Harmonics in their concert blacks after their magical performance, with Carnegie Hall lighted in the background.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Besides teaching music, Anne-Marie Katemopoulos, or Miss K as her students call her, teaches life skills.

Anne-Marie Katemopoulos

She drills them hard so they learn to be independent and know how to survive in the big city. For example: how to take the subway and how to transfer trains. That came in handy. I was one of seven chaperones on the trip. One time, probably during rush hour, half of the students boarded the train without a chaperone when the doors closed! No need to worry. The kids waited for the other half of us at the transfer point. Good job!

Another example: how to navigate the city—avenues vs. streets; which way is uptown or downtown. We did a lot of walking. No wonder there are so many specialty stores selling socks!

One of the chaperones was my roommate Peggy Mahoney, an ObGyn, parent, and contributor to Lincoln High School. Her medical knowledge came in handy. Apparently, with experience, Miss K can predict when students’ health will weaken on an excursion like this.

In New York, dare I say around the world, everyone has a smart phone. Whatever the boss uses, everyone must use too. So we all had our phones, and it seemed as though we checked them at least every 30 minutes for updated instructions. It is “standard equipment” these days. Everyone also had an app that pinpointed everyone’s whereabouts on a map for the group leaders.

A school policy is the power and safety of threes. No one was allowed out of the hotel home base unless s/he was in a group of three. We had daily morning meetings in person and debriefings at night.

Anne-Marie Katemopoulos is a hard worker who invests in the future of her students.

Interesting to know: When a Lincoln HS alumnus now working in The Big Apple asked who wanted to pursue a career on Broadway, where one needs to be not just a triple threat of singer-dancer-actor, but also offer a fourth talent such as instrumentalist, only one student raised his hand. He was a starry-eyed freshman. 😉


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