Concert Choir Takes on Carnegie Hall

Poster graphic courtesy of Jackson.

Since 1891, Carnegie Hall has housed many amazing artists from Tchaikovsky to The Beatles. World renowned composers and musicians have performed at this highly esteemed concert hall. On May 27, Point Loma Nazarene University’s very own concert choir and alumni will be taking the stage in New York City for this exclusive experience. 

Professor of music and chair of the music department, Daniel Jackson, was invited to conduct a concert at Carnegie Hall with the New England Symphony. Originally, the offer was for Jackson to conduct a choir that they would select, however a close friend and professor at PLNU, Bill Clemmons, suggested that Jackson open this opportunity up to Point Loma alumni and current concert choir students. After running it by the organization, Jackson said that he sent out invitations to choir students past and present.

With the concert date approaching, Jackson has 45 alumni and 33 concert choir members preparing for one of the biggest performances the choir has had yet. With such a famous venue, Jackson realizes how amazing this opportunity is for himself and the choir.

“In the music world, the most prestigious stage that you could perform on, almost worldwide, is Carnegie Hall… To have that opportunity to perform for an audience– it’s different.”

Jackson said that this is the first time a PLNU choir has ever performed at Carnegie Hall, and it is a true blessing to have been offered this experience. He also looks forward to reuniting with some past choir members in order to come together and perform all together.

“Some of these singers I haven’t seen in 30 or 40 years. Some of them live in Europe or all around the United States, and they’re all converging in New York City, so it’s going to be like a reunion as well, which is going to have a lot of energy in itself,” Jackson said. “I’m setting the standard high, I want it to be amazing.” 

Abby White, a second year commercial music production major, has been a part of PLNU’s concert choir for four semesters now. For her, this opportunity is extremely special, even when compared to other places that the choir has been invited to perform.

“Concert choir has been blessed with many awesome opportunities to sing all over the world! In California we have sung at many churches and on campus at Point Loma. Last summer we were able to sing in many churches and cathedrals in Europe including St. Mark’s Cathedral,” said White. “Singing at Carnegie Hall is most definitely a huge honor because it is one of the most prestigious and respected musical venues.”

White said that the songs they will be performing are of a large variety. “Some of our pieces are hundreds of years old and some of them were arranged by Dr. Jackson himself!”

The song she is most excited to sing on stage at Carnegie Hall is an Irish song, “The Lake Isle” by Ola Gjeilo.

For second year graphic design major Lily Overton, this is her first semester with concert choir. With the concert date only a month away, she said that her excitement is high.

“This will be the most prestigious venue I’ve ever performed at! In high school, my choir was supposed to go to Italy and perform there, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 so I’m very excited to get back up on stage again!”

Not only is the chance to perform at one of the most influential music halls in the world an amazing feat, but Overton said that she is just happy to be able to travel and do something she loves.

“I’ve always wanted to go to New York, and Carnegie Hall is just such a beautiful venue with such a rich history,” Overton said.

Logan Manning, a third year sociology major, has been a member of concert choir for two years. For Manning, this experience surpasses past performances that he’s done with the choir.

“The chance to perform at Carnegie Hall is special to me because it will be one of the first times I will perform in a venue outside of a small church or Point Loma performance hall,” said Manning. “Honestly, it’ll just be a cool thing to talk about when I’m older, too.”

Similar to White, Manning is also most looking forward to performing the Irish song “Lake Isle” because of the classical guitar accompaniment played by Makena Williams. 

PLNU’s concert choir has had so many unique opportunities to perform at some of the world’s most beautiful venues and locations, stretching from the beaches of Hawaii to the basilicas of Italy. 

For Manning, the choir has done more than just allow him amazing performance opportunities, it has helped shape his overall experience at PLNU.

“I am very thankful for the concert choir,” Manning said. “Most of my closest friends are people I met in the choir, which I think I would be pleasantly surprised about if you told me that two years ago when I transferred to Point Loma.”

Written By: Madelyn Walthall