Throughout everyday life, preparation and organization highly important, but they’re even more so to a large group about to perform on the stage of Carnegie Hall.
Leaving Joplin Friday morning, June 7, Missouri Southern’s own Dr. David Sharlow led a group of 26 students and 15 community singers to Manhattan, New York.
Joined by Purdy High School’s vocal music director Lauren Lee and her students, along with Thomas Jaber and students from Rice University in Houston, Texas, the groups only had the weekend in New York.
Since each group knew beforehand they would be performing John Rutter’s “Requiem”, they had prepared months in advance. Sharlow, director of choral music at Southern and singers even performed the piece at the Central Christian Center in Joplin on Sunday, April 7.
On Saturday, Sharlow started off the rehearsal in New York, and everyone’s preparation allowed them to focus on polishing their performance.
“We didn’t have a lot of time, but everybody rose to the occasion,” Sharlow said. “[Rehearsal was] basically just putting the entities together to make them sound as one.”
Rehearsals continued on Sunday, and when Monday came, it was time for dress rehearsals. Just like their time in New York, the dress rehearsal was short and sweet, lasting all of 45 minutes, Sharlow said, which allowed them to practice and polish once more.
Showtime came that evening.
“When I first walked out on the stage…in the capacity of conductor, it was pretty awesome,” Sharlow said. “I don’t think it really hit me until right when I walked out at the performance. I was a bit overwhelmed right at that moment. It was very touching.”
From a student’s perspective it was just as moving.
“Singing in Carnegie was unreal,” said Spencer Dawson, senior vocal education major. “It is amazing to think of all the greats who have stood on the very same stage. The choir worked very hard in rehearsals that weekend and it showed in the performance.
“We killed it. We made life-changing music that night. We got a standing ovation in Carnegie Hall.”
Sharlow was told that their performance was one of the best of that work.
“I think it was the caliber of the singers, both ours and those from Houston,” Sharlow said.
“I was very proud of our singers, both our students and community members. They were ready to go when it was time. They were very attentive, and they made some great connections with the other group and Professor Jaber. It was overall a really great experience.”