When Martha Healy told members of the community choir she directs that they would be performing at Carnegie Hall, some of them were waiting for the punch line – but it wasn’t a joke.
The East Hants Community Chorale has been invited to take part in a performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Distinguished Concerts International New York City (DCINY) concert on Nov. 25, 2018.
“It was completely unexpected and I’m still speechless when I think about it,” said Healy. “We’re thrilled about going, even more so because it wasn’t anything we pursued.”
She was contacted in September, after someone with DCINY came across the choir’s Facebook page. Healy was contacted through email and asked if the group was interested in performing.
“I ran it by the chorale at rehearsal and they were thrilled,” she said.
She was told the clips online could serve as their audition tape and after a panel listened to them an official invitation was issued.
“This is a big boost to our confidence,” said Healy. “This was something I started after I retired (from teaching music in the school system) in 2014. I wanted to do this for a while but waited so that I’d have enough time to commit to it. I put some posters up and at our first rehearsal we had almost 50 people.”
They began performing at community events in 2015.
“The East Hants Community Choir received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers,” said Dr. Jonathan Griffith, artistic director and principal conductor for DCINY. “It is quite an honour just to be invited to perform in New York. These wonderful musicians not only represent a high quality of music and education, but they also become ambassadors for the entire community.”
The chorale consists of 83 people from a wide area, including Colchester County. They will be taking part in fundraising events to help with the costs of the upcoming trip, which includes five days and four nights in New York City – with about 10 hours of rehearsal.
“I taught for 34 years and when I taught music I never shut the classroom door,” said Healy. “I said, ‘You never know who’s listening.’ Now, with things online, you never know who’s watching.”
The DCINY performance
Date: Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018
Place: Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall
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Music: Choirs will be assigned a section of Handel’s Messiah to perform, with all choirs coming together for the Hallelujah chorus.