A week later, Dr. David Sharlow says he’s still pinching himself.
On June 10, members of the Missouri Southern Concert Chorale and the Southern Symphonic Chorus performed John Rutter’s “Requiem” at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall. How did they get there? Practice … and a personal invitation.
Sharlow was invited to serve as guest conductor for the concert, which was staged by MidAmerica Productions.
“I’ve known MidAmerica’s general director Peter Tiboris and production manager Norman Dunfee for several years, and they asked if I’d consider conducting,” says Sharlow.
The nearly 40 students and community chorus members who went to NYC received financial support from Joplin’s Frank Fletcher Toyota and other donors, whose generosity helped defray the cost of the trip.
Aside from the rehearsal schedule, Sharlow says members of the choral group had plenty of time to experience life in the Big Apple.
“They’re college students, so I said, ‘Do the things you want to do,’ and didn’t lay down an itinerary other than the rehearsals – and they were always 100 percent there and ready to go,” he says.
Junior Keaton Campbell says it marked her first trip to NYC.
“We stayed in the Grand Hyatt, right next to Grand Central Station,” she says. “We were able to see a lot of the city and experience a lot of things. A group of my friends and I saw the Broadway performance of ‘Mean Girls.’ It was so much fun.”
Following an afternoon dress rehearsal, the group from Missouri Southern was performing on one of the most famed stages in all of music.
“(‘Requiem’) is a piece of music we know well,” says Campbell. “You definitely want to give as good a performance as possible, but we were able to relish the moment and absorb the experience.”
Afterward, Sharlow says the choral members from Southern and the other groups performing that evening gathered on the stage to be greeted by the conductors.
“I think everyone was pretty ecstatic,” he says. “I heard from (MidAmerica Productions) that they thought it was the best performance of that particular work their company had heard. After we finished, they said we’d be invited back.”