Carnegie Hall - Invited Back

Master Chorale Plays Carnegie Hall - Again!

What happens when you practice twice as hard? You get to sing at Carnegie Hall twice! The Connecticut Master Chorale, under the direction of Tina Johns Heidrich was invited back to Carnegie Hall for a performance that took place on January 20th.

The Chorale performed Mozart’s Coronation Mass under the direction of Dr. Terre Johnson, Conductor-in-Residence for concert organizer Mid-America Productions. MidAmerica normally requires an ensemble to audition or be specifically recommended by one of the more than 100 guest conductors who have appeared in their Carnegie Hall series. However, in the case of the Master Chorale, Maestro Johnson found the Chorale!

The Master Chorale rehearsing for Carnegie Hall appearance
Maestro Terre Johnson is at far right rear

He came across the Chorale’s website last year and listened to several music clips from their concerts. Considering those clips to be an official audition, Johnson contacted Heidrich and invited the Chorale to perform John Rutter's Magnificat under the composer’s baton. That concert took place on Easter Sunday, and within a month, Mr. Johnson invited the Chorale back to sing under his own direction.

Maestro Terre Johnson
Maestro Terre Johnson
MidAmerica Productions

"Performing once at Carnegie Hall was amazing," said Lisa Cedergren of Newtown who sings soprano. "Twice was overwhelming. I feel so fortunate to be a part of such a talented group of singers."

"To have sung once in Carnegie Hall was a lifetime honor and privilege," added Ray Oksala of New Fairfield who sings tenor. "To have been invited back, is more than I could ever have hoped for."

Carnegie Hall

Richard Drygas, also a tenor from New Fairfield said, "For me being on the same stage as great directors like Leonard Bernstein, performers like the Beatles and Liza Minelli, and other famous people was an awesome high. Looking out from on stage I envisioned what they would have seen and experienced during their performance. The exhilaration of this experience will be one I will not soon forget."

Diane Strever, a soprano from Monroe said that the experience at Carnegie Hall touched her in two dynamic areas. "One, that we are on the Carnegie Hall stage that has hosted so many of the world's great performances," said Strever. "And two, that we have the privilege to impart the music of a genius composer, written hundreds of years previous, to another generation of appreciative listeners."

The Master Chorale made up the largest portion of a 188-voice choir accompanied by the New England Symphonic Ensemble. Mr. Johnson said, "I am most grateful to all the choruses who combined to create such a special performance."

Debbie Benham, a soprano from Seymour said "I was especially touched with the kindness and encouragement Maestro Johnson offered the entire assembly. He always ended the rehearsals with sincere praise and laughter ... you felt so uplifted afterwards...It was wonderful to see him smiling from ear to ear as he left the stage."

Former member, Caroline Cameron, who flew from her current residence in Houston, said "For a musician, going to Carnegie Hall is like going to the moon if you're an astronaut. I feel that it is the pinnacle of achievement. It was such a thrill, and for me, well worth the 1500 mile trip!!!"