Twenty-eight members of our SCAS Chamber Choir have returned from an experience of a lifetime in New York City. The main focus of the trip was a Premiere performance in the legendary Carnegie Hall of Paul Mealor’s Requiem: The Souls of the Righteous. In the lead up to the performance, however, the students had a chance to explore the wonders of one of the world’s great cities. We learned how to navigate the metro system, attended Broadway shows, visited museums and memorials, ate lots of pizza, walked for miles through Central Park, ate more pizza and did some impromptu singing in Times Square. Three of our members also sat their final HSC exam in New York!

The main business of the week was working with composer Paul Mealor and the other members of the massed choir to perfect and mold the music for the Requiem. This was an inspiring experience for us all as Mr. Mealor is one of the great living choral composers and a brilliant teacher and conductor. We were very proud to have one of our own singers, Cassandra Cains, selected as a soloist.

The performance in Carnegie Hall was an experience none of us will ever forget. The SCAS students did the school proud and were singled out by Mr. Mealor for their outstanding focus and understanding of the music. We had the chance to present him with an Akubra hat, donated by the Palin family, at the post-concert party, and the students were able to spend time with him and the lyricist Grahame Davies, discussing their work and inspiration. Mr. Mealor has invited us to work with him again on a newly commissioned piece for the World Congress of Choral Singing in Auckland in 2020.

I would like to thank Mr Mark Brown, Ms Meg Ryan, Mr Allan Guihot and Mr Andrew Turner for joining us on this adventure. It was an exhausting but wonderful time, and I could not have asked for a better team. The students were a delight: positive, enthusiastic and generous to each other. I hope they will hold on to the magic of that adventure and walk tall.

by Marie van Gend