A group of Meridian High School singers are getting the chance of a lifetime to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
The trip is made possible through a $42,500 grant from the Meridian Council of the Arts. A group of 20 students will be going on June 5 and will return on June 10.
“Going to Carnegie — that's like a dream, because I'm in a band, so I had dreams to play my instrument in Carnegie Hall," said Brendon Boyd, a senior. "But to sing, that's awesome.”
For Boyd, it will be his first trip to New York City. He said he's looking forward to meeting others who share his love of music and also trying out the city's many food trucks.
Senior Valerie Larkin, who's been in the choir since ninth grade, said she's ready for the trip. She's visited New York before.
“I feel like it's a different experience, a different atmosphere for us, because we are from Mississippi and New York is a huge place with a lot of people,” she said. “I feel like it's a great experience for us...to meet new people and have a lot of fun,” she said.
Another group of choir students went to Carnegie Hall six years ago, according to Alanna Burns, the choir director. On this trip, the teens plan to go to a Broadway show, visit the Statue of Liberty, climb to the Top of Rock observation deck, and check out Times Square and Central Park.
“This is an amazing opportunity for students, to not only grow and learn as musicians, but to grow and learn as people and to see different cultures in the United States,” Burns said.
"Some people spend their entire lives practicing and trying to get to Carnegie Hall and here they have this amazing opportunity," Burns added.
The experience will help the choir in two ways, according to Burns. It will expose the singers to college-level music while serving as a recruitment tool for potential choir members.
“Others who may be inserted in singing but haven’t joined the choir will see that we are traveling and going places outside of Mississippi, and that we are doing great things representing Meridian,” she said.