Houston Choirs and Orchestra visits New York, perform at historic Carnegie Hall

For many famous musicians, the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York comes once in a lifetime. For students at Houston High School, that opportunity has become reality in more ways than one. For the second year in a row, Houston High School fine arts programs have traveled to and preformed in New York City. This past March, Houston Choirs and Orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall.

The HHS Orchestra enjoys a cultural look at New York City last month.

Germantown Schools Director of Orchestras, Dr. Long Long Kang, submitted an audition video recording of a Houston High School orchestra performance to the Manhattan Concert Productions Company in May 2015. The company selected the Houston Orchestra as one of their Carnegie Hall resident ensembles for the 2016 Symphonies Series concerts. This honor is exclusive as it only invites the nation’s best orchestra ensembles to perform. While in New York, the orchestra attended a clinic, watched the Broadway show “Aladdin”, visited the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Metropolitan Museum, Central Park, the 911 Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty.

The Houston Orchestra has received first place and superior ratings from numerous local and national competitions. The orchestra performs regularly at the Germantown Performing Arts Center and local events. Many students have been selected for the All-West, All-State, and All-National Orchestras every year.

The Houston High School Choirs also accepted an invitation to the Big Apple—theirs coming from Choirs of America. Selected as one of a handful of elite choirs to participate in the 2016 COA Nationals for Top Choirs they participated in adjudicated performances with performance reviews, observational opportunities, and full one-hour clinics with renowned clinicians. “The Houston Choirs are extremely honored and privileged to be selected for this prestigious event at Carnegie Hall,” remarked Houston High School Choir Director, Dr. Billy Rayburn. “I believe this will be the choir’s first performance at Carnegie Hall, and the students are incredibly excited to perform in such a historical venue.”

The choral students arrived in New York Wednesday, March 16 over Spring Break. On Thursday, students performed multiple times at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queen’s College. Both choirs received superior ratings, which were outstanding scores with groups from across the country and Canada. Following their performance, the choirs engaged in a clinic with Dr. Brady Allred, retired choral director from the University of Utah.

On Palm Sunday, student were provided with the opportunity to worship at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. “Some students were able to receive communion from Cardinal Dohlan!” said Rayburn. In addition, many took time to see Broadway plays, tour museums and really take in the full grandeur and scope of the city.

GMSD is extremely proud of its fine arts programs which consistently rank among the best in the nation. This trip only exemplifies the true nature of excellence in practice at Houston. All programs frequently travel the globe and perform in world-renown venues. These experiences add exponential value to the programs and offer a unique, participation driven curriculum. If you are interested in joining the Houston High School Orchestra or one of its choral programs, contact Dr. Long Long Kang or Dr. William Rayburn.

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