How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2000

Practice isn't the only way to get to Carnegie Hall. To a group of students from Greenville High School it also takes money.

GHS choral director Christy Clark will be taking a group of seven students to New York, N.Y., in April to perform at the Big Apple's celebrated music hall during the annual Choral Week. The event puts students visiting from different parts of the country together in one large choir, with as many as 300 students participating, to perform selected music under the direction of a guest conductor.

"Carnegie selects the music we will perform," Clark said. "And, we have been rehearsing the selections here. Once we get to New York, there will be two days of rehearsals before the final performance on Sunday night."

If all goes as planned, the group of GHS singers will be in New York from April 13 through April 17 and will not only get a chance to stand on the stage of dreams for most singers, but will also get to take in the sights of the city that never sleeps.

"The students will get the chance to see Phantom of the Opera on Saturday night, and we have sight-seeing trips planned to the Lincoln Center and the Statue of Liberty and a number of other places," Clark said. "It will be a fun trip and a great experience for the students."

The students participating in the trip were selected through an exhaustive audition process, and then began the tiring process of raising the money they need to go.

"It will cost a total of $947 per student to get there, and we are responsible for raising all the money we need," Clark said. "A number of businesses and individuals have already made some generous donations, but we still have a long way to go."

Clark said the group has been able to raise about $3,000 so far, and has about one month to raise the near $4,000 still required for the trip.

"We couldn't do this without the generous support of the businesses and people who have donated so far," she said. "But we still need a lot of help if we are going to get enough money to go."

The students spent Friday night, March 10, standing in front of Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers encouraging traffic to stop in and buy something to eat. The management at Wendy's offered to donate 10 percent of sales during the hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to help finance the trip. The three hours of work generated $112 for the group, and gave them the opportunity to let the community know they needed help.

Other businesses sponsoring the trip so far include People's Bank, Fred's Department Store, Hot Waxx, Colonial Bank, Robinson's Beauty Supply, Rotary Club, The Pineapple and Merle Norman. Personal donations have also been made by Virginia Stallings, Edwin Montgomery and Evelyn Edwards. Clark said she wanted to thank each donor for the help they have received, and encourage others in the community to give as much as they can.

"This trip means so much to these young people and we really need to show our support for them," she said. "It is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

The students selected to go to Carnegie Hall are Brandy Jollay, Michael Stoutmire, Lewis Q. Gulley, Patrice Christian, Latricia Howze, Tiffany Thomas and Wendy Jenkins. Clark said donations are sorely needed and can be made by either contacting her at Greenville High, or visiting the school office.