Members of a Melton choir are preparing to give the performance of their lives - at the world famous Carnegie Hall in New York.
Melton Mowbray Choral Society passed a rigorous audition to be chosen to perform in Mozart’s Requiem as part of the prestigious Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) series next month.
Seventeen singers from the choir will spend five days and four nights in the city as they prepare for their concert, rehearsing for up to 10 hours beforehand.
Choir member Sue Elliott said: “This is such a wonderful opportunity for our choir.
“We are so excited about performing at Carnegie Hall - it’s the chance of a lifetime.”
Another of the singers travelling with the choir, Sandie Williamson, said: “I am absolutely thrilled about going to New York.
“What an incredible experience to sing such a fantastic work, as part of a huge choir, at the Carnegie Hall.
“It doesn’t happen to people like me and I’m so excited.”
DCINY members had watched online recordings of the choir and were able to audition them before sending out the precious invite.
Musical director James Gutteridge said: “With only six weeks to go, the excitement is building.
“We’ve already had a rehearsal to blow the dust off the Mozart score.
“It’s such a wonderful piece of music - we all love to sing it.
“Everyone needs to be really confident with the music before we get to New York, as there won’t be time for note learning.
“It’ll be all about the fine tuning and polishing with a leading conductor.”
Those flying out to the United States are keeping their fingers crossed that Mr Gutteridge can accompany them.
Due to unforeseen circumstances he can’t afford the £1,200 cost of the trip and has launched an online fundraising page, which has already generated pledges of more than £600.
Mr Gutteridge, who is also organist and choirmaster at St Mary’s Church in the town, said he would be ‘devastated’ if he couldn’t attend such a special concert with his choir.
“I would be so grateful for any donations,” he said.
“What an absolute privilege it would be to go with Melton Mowbray Choral Society and to perform in one of the world’s great concert halls - I’m so
proud of my choir.
“If I am lucky enough to be able to go with the choir, I hope to arrange to visit and play the organs in some of the famous churches in New York,
like St Thomas’s on 5th Avenue, St John the Divine Cathedral, and St Patrick’s Cathedral.”
The society will take to the stage on Monday February 19 as part of the President’s Day Weekend events, where they will join with other choristers in the performance. The conductor will be DCINY associate artistic director, Dr James M. Meaders.
Dr. Jonathan Griffith, artistic director and principal conductor for DCINY, said: “The Melton Mowbray Choral Society received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers as well as the exceptional quality of their audition recording.
“It is quite an honour just to be invited to perform in New York.
“These wonderful musicians not only represent a high quality of music and education, but they also become ambassadors for the entire community.”
The choral society was started by renowned conductor, organist and composer, Sir Malcolm Sargent, in the 1920s.
Sir Malcolm was organist and choirmaster at St Mary’s Church in the town, before going on to conduct the BBC Proms concerts in London.
The choir stopped for many years before it was reformed by Mr Gutteridge in April 2013.
It now has more than 50 members who perform major concerts organised with professional soloists, as well as a traditional Christmas carol concert in the town each year.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or go online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/james-gutteridge to pledge money to help Mr Gutteridge accompany his choir to New York.