University Choir prepares for Carnegie Hall



The Alabama State University Choir prepares to take a historic trip to Carnegie Hall in New York on May 7 where they will perform along with other universities that have also been invited.

Phyllis Turnipseed, Staff Reporter/ Writer

For those interested in watching the Alabama State University Choir perform at Carnegie Hall, one of the most prestigious venues in the world for both classical and popular music, they will be performing at 881 Seventh Ave. in Midtown Manhattan, New York. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing with some of the top choirs of America will be on May 8 at 7 p.m.
Kristofer Sanchack, D.M. director of the Choral Activities and associate professor of music, is responsible for preparing the choir to perform, a job that he takes very seriously.
“This is, more importantly, an accomplishment and an honor for Alabama State University, the College of Visual and Performing Arts and our University Choir members,” Sanchack said. “…The Carnegie Hall performance is great for our school’s name; it will help us attract, recruit and enroll more students and enhance our programs’ already good reputation.”
The event will take place in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, one of the national historic landmark’s three venues.
The Alabama State University Choir will be joined by Longwood University and will jointly perform Adolphus Hailstork’s “I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes” under the direction of Sanchack, and John Rutter’s “Gloria” under Pamela McDermontt, M.D.

In order to get there, students have been hosting fundraisers to help cover flight and other expenses. Sanchack, estimates that the choir will need to raise at least $150,000 to make the weeklong trip possible.
To help them reach their goal, the university hosted a fundraiser “Mardi Gras Party With a Purpose,” Feb. 17, at The Nest from 7 p.m. to midnight.
“Carnegie Hall is a remarkable place to sing at. We have four hours to perform,” Sanchack said. “Alabama State University (ASU) has been a significant support as they actually paid for our trip along with churches around Montgomery donating money to go to Carnegie Hall. We are thankful just for us being able to raise money and go on the trip.”
Jakia Gadson, a vocal performance major, is ecstatic.
“I can’t describe how exciting it is to be going to New York, let alone Carnegie Hall,” Gadson said smiling. Really believe that timing is everything. I tell everybody that I was meant to be here at this particular time and place. Carnegie is where some of the biggest names in the music industry perform and to be there and have a chance to sing with an orchestra is priceless to me.”
Gadson also went into detail about the preparation for their big performance.
“To prepare for Carnegie, we are rehearsing four times a week,” she said. “We have also been fundraising and performing at different events on and off campus. We are trying to stay as healthy as we can (vocally) to make sure we’re in great shape for Carnegie.”
Ta’Keila Walker, a junior who will double major in music and political science, was in shock when she received the news.
“Carnegie Hall is the biggest opportunity in my life,” she said. “When Dr. Sanchack broke the news to us, I was shocked. Having the honor to represent not only the university choir, but Alabama State University, makes this better for not only myself, but the university. I would like to personally thank everyone that has a part in us going to Carnegie Hall.
Quanita Holliday, a junior music performance and music education major, is anticipating the trip.
“I think we are going to have a good time,” she said. “This is my first time going to New York so getting that experience to visit Carnegie Hall will be amazing.”