Panthers prepare to take on the ‘Big Apple’

Starr’s Mill’s fine arts programs travel to New York


Aelise Gagliano

Dec. 6, 2016 – Chorus director Dr. John Odom conducts the chorus during their Christmas performance.

Amy Orr, Staff Writer

The Mill’s choral department is heading to the Empire State Building for one unforgettable weekend.

An organization called Choirs of America invited Starr’s Mill’s choral department to New York City to perform in Carnegie Hall at Nationals for Top Choirs. They scout out top high school choral programs around the nation and invite a select few to the event. Choirs from twelve different states and one from Australia will be attending Nationals for Top Choirs. Starr’s Mill has participated twice before and is ready to return once again.

Aelise Gagliano
March 7, 2017 – Band members play their french horns during a band concert. The band performed a pre-Large Group Performance Evaluation concert before attending the official large group performance evaluation on March 20.

“The thing I look forward to the most is the actual performance at Queens College and Carnegie Hall,” chorus director Dr. John Odom said.

Starr’s Mill formed a collective choir of singers from each of the four main chorus groups at the school, but any chorus members who were willing to learn the music and rehearse twice a week were encouraged to go on the trip. A total of 91 students will attend.

The biggest benefit from those in the younger choirs going to New York is going to be good preparation for learning higher levels of music. “It’s also [a] once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall,” Odom said.

At Carnegie Hall, the Mill’s choir will perform independently and will later participate in a combined performance with the other invited choirs. As a warmup before the main performance, students will sing at Queens College, where they will do three a capella and one accompanied piece. At Carnegie Hall, they will be doing one of the pieces from Queens College and three additional pieces alongside the other attending choirs. Starr’s Mill will perform its final piece alone.

“We’ll be doing other things other than the performance,” Odom said.

Aside from Nationals for Top Choirs, members of Starr’s Mill’s choir will have the chance to venture into the “Big Apple” and sightsee around the city, in addition to attending a Broadway workshop. The choir will also do a choral performance workshop with a clinician.

Chorus, however, isn’t the only group representing Starr’s Mill’s fine arts department in New York next week.

Around 50 band students are attending the trip, too. On the first day, the group will take a walking tour of Midtown Manhattan, visit the St. Patrick’s Cathedral and have time to shop on 5th Avenue before hopping over to Times Square for a group photo-op. On the second day, they will visit the Intrepid Sea, the Air and Space Museum, and the One World Observatory. While the chorus will be taking a magic carpet ride to see “Aladdin” on Broadway, the band department will leave some green with envy, attending the Broadway musical “Wicked.”  On their last day in the city, the students will also attend a Broadway workshop with a cast member from the show to wrap up the trip before heading home.

This experience allows the Mill’s fine arts department an opportunity to showcase its talents on a national level, all while having an educational and enjoyable trip to New York City.

“It’s going to be cross-curricular,” band director Scott King said. “They’re going to learn a lot, and it’s going to be fun to be with their friends.