COLUMBUS – The Columbus High Concert Choir got an opportunity to do something most students won’t dream of becoming a reality.
The choir recently returned from a trip to the Big Apple, where the group performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City and got to work with multiple music celebrities, including the popular A Capella artist and TV personality Deke Sharon. CHS Alto Samantha Hernandez says meeting and working with Sharon was easily one of the highlights of her trip. Samantha said meeting her idol, went even better than expected.
“It was better [than expected] because I was kind of nervous. I didn’t know if he’d be as nice in person and he was very friendly and took pictures with all of us,” says Hernandez.
Said Mendez and Alex Flyr both had multiple memories they will look back fondly on, when they think of the different sights and sounds they were able to experience. But the one that sticks out the most wasn’t a planned tourist sight.
“There was [two] hot dog venders yelling get your hot dogs here, and so we were like ‘lets help them out’ and so I went to one and he went to the other one and we started yelling back at each other, trying to help the hotdog venders,” says Said Mendez.
“We both started yelling ‘get your hot dogs here’, basically just kept shouting over and over, and I ended up getting a pretzel. Which I mean, I think I basically won because he didn’t get anything,” says Flyr.
Hernandez, Mendez, and Flyr all said the trip was something they will remember the rest of their life, and getting to perform before a packed house at Carnegie Hall was a great experience.
The choir was selected to attend the event, thanks to a video they created for a Macy Challenge of the New World Singers performing. The event’s coordinators saw the video and invited the entire Concert Choir to sing.
CHS Choir Director Jacob Ritter says they were the largest group to perform at the event, which he says speaks to the level of talent in the Columbus High program.
“This was perfect. The kids got to work with Deke Sharon, who is an icon, a master of A Cappella singing, and they worked with him for ten hours of rehearsal. It was amazing. They worked and sang with 200 other kids. Got to know kids from all over the country. We were the only group from Nebraska, and I think we’re the only group that’s ever been there from Nebraska,” says Ritter.
A former music teacher, and current Columbus High Assistant Principal Angela Leifeld also attended the trip, and said the chance for the kids was something, both special for them and for those who got to be a part of their journey.
“On these trips you get a chance to know these kids, develop some relationships, and see them excel in areas you might not get to see back here,” said Leifeld. “I had tears in my eyes through most of their performance. It was and incredible experience, and in front of 5,000 people, packed house for those kids it’s an experience they’ll never forget.”