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NHS choir sings in NYC

Wouldn't it be an incredible experience, not only to visit New York City with forty-two of your closest friends, but to sing a masterwork at Carnegie Hall? Well, forty-three Niwot High School choir students are able to add that exact experience to their life's resume.

The NHS Choir Department departed from Denver International Airport on June 9 for New York City and returned to Colorado on June 13. During that time, their itinerary was jam-packed with visits to several famous landmarks, tourist destinations, two Broadway musicals, and rehearsals for and singing Dan Forrest's "Requiem for the Living."

When asked what the experience was like singing a masterwork at Carnegie Hall, 2023 graduate Sofiya Ivanova responded by saying that the three sets of three-to-four hour rehearsals were her favorite part of the trip, and that "most people are shocked" with that response.

"I loved absorbing the knowledge and experience of the many singers with vastly different histories that surrounded me," Ivanova said. "Thanks to our wonderful conductor, Jennaya Robison, I became inspired by the technical and artistic aspects of singing in a choir."

Ivanova said the most significant part of this experience was being reminded that "singing (is) not merely about producing the correct notes at the correct times, but about making art and evoking something in the audience" as she found herself "grinning triumphantly" or feeling tears well up in her eyes from the music.

Hayden Baldwin, a NHS junior, added, "I don't think I could pick a better song to sing, a better group to sing with, and certainly not a better place to be singing." Baldwin is considering a career in conducting music, and says that having this opportunity gave him new connections and understandings of music he otherwise would not have had.

Sophomore Audrey Owen said, "It was amazing. I had never sung with 200 people before. Hearing the music all put together was beautiful." She explained, "The piece was 40 minutes long without breaks in between songs, so it was challenging for my voice, but I [pushed] through. The view from the Carnegie Hall stage was breathtaking [while] we performed."

Owen also elaborated on the musical aspect of the trip by talking about the musicals they saw on Broadway. "We saw 'Moulin Rouge' and 'Hadestown'," said Owen. "'Hadestown' will probably be more memorable for me because I got to meet two of the original cast members, Eva Noblezada and Reeve Carney, who have been my idols for a very long time."

Baldwin and Ivanova agreed that while both musicals were spectacular, and "Moulin Rouge" had an extravagant set and was very impressive, "Hadestown" topped the bill as most gripping.

Other landmarks and sights that participants visited included the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center and the 9-11 Memorial, and the Broadway Museum.

"Seeing Top of the Rock(efeller Center) was amazing because you could almost see the entire city, which made me realize how small I am and how many huge buildings there are in NYC," said Owen. Ivanova said, "Although I am not well-versed or particularly interested in Broadway, the museum was so well curated" and she thought it was intriguing how Broadway responded to different historical events throughout the decades.

Across the board, participants said they will treasure this adventure for a lifetime. The friendships made and enhanced on this trip and having the opportunity to experience traveling with this group, singing at Carnegie Hall, and visiting New York City with loved ones is unmatched.

"To anyone who is considering a school trip like this one, I cannot recommend these enough," said Baldwin. "Being able to travel with friends makes already amazing experiences even better." Owen reflected, "I will remember this trip for the rest of my life, it was so fun! Even going to other places that aren't NYC would be amazing."

Niwot High School's Orchestra Department traveled to the Baltics June 9-20, and the band program will travel to Disney World in the spring semester of 2024. Various fundraisers are held in order to reduce the cost of these trips for students throughout the year.


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