It will be a trip and experience of a lifetime for about 15 members of the Meridian High School Choir as they get to perform inside historic Carnegie Hall in New York City early next year.
Penny McLemore, the MHS Choir director, said the students are looking forward to the four day trip with a great deal of anticipation.
"They are so excited as well they should be," McLemore said. "To perform in Carnegie Hall will be something they will never forget and be able to tell their own grandchildren."
The trip is scheduled Jan. 16-20, 2014. The performance will be Sunday, Jan. 19.
To help with the expenses of the trip, high school organizers are going to host a fundraiser Saturday at the boys gymnasium on the campus of MHS. Kay Buntyn is organizing the fundraiser and hopes everyone will come out for a few hours of fun help raise money for the students.
"We have been doing fundraisers for the upcoming trip for several months and I imagine we will have a few more before they leave next year," Buntyn said. "We are doing all we can here to support them in this great experience."
Buntyn said there will be bouncy houses, face painting, children's activities and games, concessions with hot dogs, soft drinks, pizza and cotton candy. Admission is $1 per person and tickets for the activities will be 50 cents bought in $5 bundles.
McLemore said the goal is to raise at least $1,700 for each of the 15 students making the trip. She said there will be members of three other Mississippi high schools, the Newton County Choir, the Clinton High School Choir and the Germantown High School Choir. The Mississippi College Choir will also participate. McLemore said there will be a total of 300 voices in the choir to sing for the play "Requiem of the Living" directed by Dr. Jamie Meaders of Mississippi College.
"Dr. Meaders is the reason why we are able to go," McLemore said. "He chose us and as the director for the production he gets to choose his choir."
“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," Dr. Jonathan Griffith, artistic director and principal conductor for the Distinguished Concerts International New York, is quoted as saying on the Meridian Public School District website. "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."
McLemore said in addition to performing at the historic music hall, she hopes the students will be able to take in the sights and sounds of the Big Apple. She said there are tentative plans for the students to visit Ground Zero of the World Trade Center and other such attractions.
But the main experience will of course be the performance itself.
"They will be wide-eyed and just brimming with excitement," McLemore said. "We hope a lot of people support us in the fundraiser so these students can realize this dream."