GDS Singers at Carnegie Hall

Danny Stock

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

In the words of GDS High School vocal director Jason Strunk, “practice, practice, practice—and join GDS Singers!” Many GDS singers put in the practice hours. Sure enough, over the Thanksgiving weekend, several GDS singers had the opportunity to participate in a massed choir performance of Handel’s Messiah.

“Singing at Carnegie Hall was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget!” said Max Grosman ’22. “When listening to all the choirs sing together, I could feel the energy of our voices radiating out into the hall. The feeling one gets when singing with hundreds of people can only be described as astonishing.” 

“I had imagined decades and decades of intense, dedicated practice before I got on the world's most renowned stage,” said Ava Blum ’23. Ava described how the intense practice in anticipation of the performance (two consecutive days of five hours straight) seemed to transform one day into one year’s worth of training. “As grueling as the work was, however, it was beyond worth it. I had always dreamed of this moment, but I never expected to get to say I made my [Carnegie Hall] debut at the ripe age of just 14.”

“It was surreal to perform in Carnegie Hall with a full orchestra,” said senior Tayae Rogers. “The Hall is a huge space and the seats go up about five floors. I made sure to look around and above me to take in the space and the entire audience.”

The massive choir drew singers of all ages from groups around the world. Tayae said, “My favorite part of this weekend was having the opportunity to sing with such a diverse group of people. I don't usually sing with adults, so being able to sing with and learn from musicians with more experience was very cool.” Felicia Paul ’22 added, “It was really beautiful hearing how people from all around the world could come together and create one strong, unified sound. Even though we had all just met, we had a common goal: we would produce a beautiful sound and make music together.”

“The sound that poured out of all our mouths in unison when we were on that stage flowed gracefully and lyrically off each and every tongue like pure honey,” Ava recalled. “The sound reached into the audience with a radiance that made us feel like heavenly angels serenading to the earth. Carnegie Hall was the most majestic stage I have ever been on in my life."

Felicia added, “As for performing at Carnegie Hall, the echoing of the chorus and orchestra made me step back and realize why and how much I love to sing. Overall, I made tons of new friends and joined a pretty spectacular community. This was an experience that I will never forget.”

Thanks to vocal director Jason Strunk for preparing and coordinating a meaningful itinerary for the students while in New York City. While recording during performances at Carnegie Hall is strictly prohibited, Jason and Ava shared some images from rehearsals.

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