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Fort St. John choir to play Carnegie Hall

Noted violinist Isaac Stern said that while music can enhance a hall, only Carnegie Hall enhances the music. About 30 of Fort St. John's best local singers will get the chance to experience that, when they perform there Nov. 29.

Noted violinist Isaac Stern said that while music can enhance a hall, only Carnegie Hall enhances the music.

About 30 of Fort St. John's best local singers will get the chance to experience that, when they perform there Nov. 29.

"This is a real honour for us to be chosen," said Rachel Casponi, director of the North Peace Community Choir. "That's a bucket list, for sure, being able to say that you sang in Carnegie Hall."

Earlier this month, the choir learned that Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) had selected them to perform at the historic venue in midtown Manhattan. DCINY also invited a choir in Ontario to perform, said Casponi. 

DCINY will underwrite the concert, but the choir will have to pay a participation fee.

The local singers will learn from a professional conductor, have a three-day workshop, and a gala dinner where local singers "will be treated like royalty," according to Casponi.

"The way [DCINY makes] it financially viable, you pay a participation fee to work with a professional conductor, that allows them to pay a professional orchestra," said Casponi. "Most performances that run in Carnegie Hall are self-funded … if you wanted to put on a concert in Carnegie Hall, as long as you had the dough, you can."

Group members will join other choirs in singing Handel's Messiah. The piece is not new to them — they perform it in Fort St. John annually — but Casponi said it is "complicated."

"It's a big work, it's a long work … but it is all English, and it is a straightforward four-part writing, which is great too," she said.

"It requires a lot of vocal strength and just real comfort with your instruments. We've been focusing on that in choir, vocal techniques and on supporting themselves. And [the choir is] making some really beautiful sounds."

reporter@ahnfsj.ca