The Montclair State University Chorale will make its Carnegie Hall debut on January 28 when it shares the stage at a humanitarian concert and performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
“We are very excited to have them literally give voice to the voiceless millions,” says George Mathew, conductor and artistic director of Music for Life International, which will present the symphony to raise awareness of the plight of Rohingya refugees in Myanmar.
The Montclair State Chorale, under the direction of Heather J. Buchanan, professor of music, is the core choral ensemble and symphonic choir in the John J. Cali School of Music, this semester 160-students strong. Among them, soprano Alexa Tammone, a sophomore majoring in music education, says the group’s debut on the hallowed stage is an honor.
“But it’s even more of an honor to be able to use my passion for music to help people in their times of hardship,” Tammone says. “Preparing for this concert has been a powerful, eye opening and incredibly meaningful experience.”
The concert will be performed in the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage; net proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. Beethoven for The Rohingya is the eighth in a series of global humanitarian concerts presented by Music For Life International at Carnegie Hall. Musicians representing 70 international ensembles and organizations are taking part.
Mathew says the energy of the symphony as performed by the accomplished artists “is palpable even before a note is played and lingers after the last note.” It culminates with the exultant hymn, “Ode to Joy,” a “clarion call to all people everywhere to recognize our common humanity,” Mathew says.
“There are so many aspects to this concert that I am excited about,” says Buchanan. “It’s our Carnegie Hall/Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage debut; our students have the opportunity to perform with world-class musicians (conductor, soloists and instrumentalists); and most importantly, we are singing to raise awareness and funding for an important humanitarian cause.
“In every respect, this concert checks all the right boxes for our students – a professional-level performing experience that will be challenging, enriching and thrilling,” Buchanan says.
The Montclair State Chorale includes music students majoring in performance, music education, music therapy, composition, as well as non-music majors with choral experience.
“Being a part of this concert has really shown how, at even as early as the undergraduate level, Montclair State music students carry a great deal of professionalism in their endeavors, are strong musicians that can conduct themselves well in professional environments, and above all, want to use music to better our world,” Tammone says.
With Symphony No. 9, the Montclair State Chorale is working with familiar material, previously performing the repertoire to great acclaim with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO). “We now have an opportunity to revisit it for the sheer joy of singing the music again in another professional setting and without the ‘heavy-lifting’ required to learn a masterwork of this magnitude,” Buchanan says. Alumni and friends of the choir have been invited to join in the performance.
Sarah Peszka, the soprano section leader for the University Singers ensemble and a senior studying music education, says she recalls the feeling of singing with NJSO as a freshman. “It felt like the peak of opportunity for our program. Now, it’s an experience we get to take part in regularly. Being asked to sing at Carnegie Hall reminds me of that feeling again, but I am trying to put it in perspective and realize that this is just the next step for this incredible program.”
More information and tickets are available on the Carnegie Hall website by clicking HERE.
Students and seniors receive a $10 discount at the Box Office. A 10 percent discount code (BFB30335) has also been provided. There are also many 50 percent off tickets that have partial view, obstructed view or limited leg room.
Filmmaker Steve McCarthy, news producer at Montclair State’s School of Communication and Media, contributed video interviews.