Penn Yan Community Chorus to perform at Carnegie Hall

John Christensen
Penn Yan Community Chorus

The old joke goes, “Do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?”

“Practice!”

Well, that is just what the Penn Yan Community Chorus is doing.  After 36 years of practice, they have been invited to sing at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan at its annual Thanksgiving weekend Christmas concert.

Combined with members from some of the best choirs in the country, they will perform the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah as well as a program of carols by renowned composer/conductor John Rutter, under the direction of Mr. Rutter himself.

Considered to be the most prestigious concert hall in America and in the top three of the world, playing Carnegie Hall is considered to be the pinnacle of any music career. The historic venue, built by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie in 1891 and home to the New York Philharmonic until its move to Lincoln Center in 1962, is famous for its acoustics.

The opportunity to take part in any concert there is a remarkable honor.

Chorus Director Peg Patterson says the opportunity came in the form of an unsolicited email from the production company.

MidAmerica Productions, the company responsible for the concert said in a letter to Patterson, “Your ambitious programming with this ensemble is laudable. Bravo! In particular, we noted your emphasis on the choral masterworks as well as contemporary composers.” The chorus will prepare and perform the pieces here in Penn Yan for their own Dec. 3 Christmas concert.

Preparation with the combined choirs for the New York City concert takes place over a five-day residency. The $1249 per person accommodation package includes;

• Four nights lodging at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Park Ave. at 42nd St.

• All rehearsal and concert related transportation to and from the hotel

• All tips and gratuities

• A MidAmerica staffer to oversee hotel check in and departure

• All rehearsal and concert materials and administration

• A replica concert poster

• A complimentary concert ticket for non-performers staying with the group  

• An entrance pass to the Empire State Building Observation Deck

• A ticket for a post-concert cruise around New York Harbor

• Gift coupons to Macy’s, Bloom’s Delicatessen and other Mid-town Manhattan restaurants

In order to brush up on singing skills and become acquainted with the group, Patterson encourages people who might wish to join them for the Carnegie Hall Concert to join the chorus now for their spring concert (June 5 at 3 p.m. in the First Baptist Church)  and to sing  for the 150th anniversary of the Keuka Rifles’ departure for the Civil War on May 14.

Rehearsals are Mondays 7-9 p.m. in the second floor rehearsal room of the Baptist Church. Male voices are especially needed.

Past PYCC concerts are available to watch on Youtube by searching “Penn Yan Chorus.”