Meridian Star

January 16, 2014

New York Bound

Meridian High School Choir headed to Carnegie Hall

By Ida Brown /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Today, 15 members of the Meridian High School Choir will board a chartered bus to Birmingham, Ala., at 5 a.m., then fly to New York City to make their debut at Carnegie Hall this weekend.

    MHSC is one of five school choirs in Mississippi invited to participate in the New York Premiere performance of Dan Forrest's "Requiem for the Living" on the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY)Concert Series at Carnegie Hall.

    “The Meridian High School Choir received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers. It is quite an honor just to be invited to perform in New  York," said Dr. Jonathan Griffith, artistic director and principal conductor for DCINY.

    "These wonderful musicians not only represent a high quality of music and education, but they  also become ambassadors for the entire community. This is an event of extreme pride for everybody and deserving of the community’s recognition and support,” Griffith said.

    The MHS Choir is under the direction of Penny McLemore. While it will be the choir's first appearance at Carnegie Hall, it is not their first invitation to the esteemed concert venue.

    "We've been invited before but I felt that this was the right time for us," McLemore said. "It's a big undertaking ... The choir has done a lot of rehearsing and have done a really good job with the music."

    Kia Davis, who sings first and second soprano, said she is excited to be part of this milestone for the MHS Choir.

    "This is such a phenomenal experience. I'm so happy that it is happening while I'm still in the choir," Davis said. "Not only am I looking forward to my first time to visit New York City, but I'm also getting to know choir members from other Mississippi schools."

    Because of the expense of the trip, 15 vocalists will represent the school's 59-member choir.

    "We determined who would go by the first 15 members to pay the $50 registration fee," McLemore explained. "The choir has been working since last spring to raise money through fundraisers, and we've had tremendous support from the community."

    In addition to MHS, choirs from Newton County High School, Germantown High School in Madison, Jackson Preparatory School in Flowood and Mississippi College in Clinton will participate in the performance.         

    The concert is scheduled for Sunday with 450 students from across the nation under the direction of Conductor Dr. James M. Meaders, professor and chair of the Department of Music and director of Choral Activities at Mississippi College. The singers will spend five days and four nights in New York City in preparation for the program.