UNI sings its way to the Big Apple

Many native New Yorkers know the old adage connected to their historical landmark, located in the midst of Manhattan: "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" The natives know best and answer, "Practice."

large group of Concert Chorale
UNI's Concert Chorale, a mixed gender choir featuring undergraduate and undergraduate students majoring in all types of fields, performed 'Festival te Deum' in Carnegie Hall.

And practice is what University of Northern Iowa's Concert Chorale did to land their spot on a Carnegie Hall stage.

The UNI Concert Chorale is a mixed gender choir featuring undergraduate and graduate students, majoring in all types of fields.

Carnegie Hall, a renowned landmark located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, has housed some of the most prestigious orchestras, conductors and chorus groups, both young and old. This was the first time that Concert Chorale performed in Carnegie Hall, and only the second time a UNI group performed there.

The UNI Concert Chorale's invitation to sing in Carnegie Hall is one of honor and privilege.

"Singing in Carnegie Hall is a once in a lifetime experience, and our students really took that to heart," said Caroline Boehmer, administrative assistant in the School of Music. "They fully immersed themselves in learning the music and preparing for the trip, and once we were in New York City, you could really tell that the experience had a profound impact on them. They're all excited to be able to say they've performed at one of the most impressive venues in the world, especially so early in their musical careers."

The atmosphere of Carnegie Hall was an adjustment from the familiarity of singing on stages in the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.

Group of 4 pose with UNI I am ... signs.

Concert Chorale members experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity to sing in the renown Carnegie Hall, supporting UNI all over the Big Apple.

"I had to sing my fullest because it was so loud in the hall, especially coupled with the orchestra," said Kelley Raymon, a senior music performance major. "We had to use a lot more support and work hard to make the consonants audible. I definitely gained more vocal stamina from the long rehearsals and from singing so fully."

Receiving an invitation to sing at Carnegie Hall doesn't come without a story.

"Composer Dr. David Childs came to UNI as a visiting artist last fall during the UNI Vocal Arts Festival," said Boehmer. "He composed the piece 'Festival te Deum' specifically for this choir."

"Childs was so impressed with Concert Chorale that he asked our choir director and instructor in the School of Music, Dyan Meyer, if we could come to Carnegie Hall and premier the 'Festival te Deum' piece," said Raymon. "He also asked if we could open the whole program with our own pieces."

In addition to the vocal aspirations of the Concert Chorale under the conduction of Meyer, the group was able to do some pre- and post-concert activities around NYC, visiting Rockefeller Center, St. Paul's Chapel at Ground Zero, the "Today's Show" and Broadway's "The Lion King."

The spirit of Carnegie Hall and NYC was in full force throughout the trip, and the group brought their energy back to Cedar Falls.

"The group continued to express their gratitude for this opportunity throughout the trip," said Boehmer. "Conductor Dyan Meyer led with an extraordinary amount of talent, grace and presence throughout the tour."