EFHS Chamber Ensemble to sing at Carnegie Hall

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – A dream will come true for about 20 Edsel Ford High School Chamber Ensemble members who plan to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York in March 2013 – but to make their dream a reality the choir will need to host fundraisers to raise money for the trip.

At Carnegie Hall the choir plans to perform the choral-orchestral piece “Fauré Requiem,” by French composer Gabriel Fauré. Edsel Ford High School Choral Activities and Theatre Director Robert Doyle said Michigan State University Music Professor David Rayl chose the song for the choir to sing and invited them to Carnegie Hall; Rayl will conduct the choir while they perform.

“We were very excited about the possibility (of performing),” Doyle said. “Many musicians build their entire lives around performing at Carnegie Hall and (the students) have an opportunity to do just that.”

Rayl said MidAmerica Productions, Inc., an independent producer of classical concerts in Carnegie Hall, hired him as a conductor for the trip and he said he selected EFHS’s Chamber Ensemble because he knew the quality of work the choir director and choir bring to the table during a performance.

“Both the choir and (Doyle) have a fine reputation,” Rayl said. He added that he chose “Fauré Requiem” because it is a “fantastic piece, people like to sing it and it can be sung by a wide range of people.”

Rayl also plans to bring about 20 singers from MSU’S Choral Union to New York to sing.

Doyle said it costs about $2,000 per student to travel to New York and participate in several activities around the city.

There are about 50 students in the choir and because of various reasons about half of them cannot sing in Carnegie Hall.

Doyle said the choir already had several fundraisers which included everything from garage sales and restaurant donations to pop can and bottle drives – and they plan to repeat those fundraisers and more.

“Getting to New York is very expensive,” Doyle said. “So we help people help us with our fundraiser.”

The choir has a current fundraiser called “Get a Carnegie Shake at Potbelly,” all day from through August 31.

Fifty cents from every purchased Carnegie Shake ordered at Potbelly, 22941 Michigan Ave., goes to support the EFHS Chamber Ensemble’s trip to Carnegie Hall according to the choir’s Facebook event page.

Clawson resident Barbara Lusk did her part in fundraising and made a quilt to get raffled off to the winning ticket. Lusk’s daughter, Leslie Burnett, the Crescendo Club’s secretary, and her granddaughter asked her to make the quilt; Burnett also provided the pattern and fabric, Lusk said.

“I have a couple threads to tuck in and it is done,” Lusk said of the quilt. “(The quilt) is all music patterns… the center of fabric is an Edsel Ford logo with a thunderbird.” Lusk said the job took about a month to do, but no matter how little or how large the task, she always feels good when she can help young people expand their experiences and horizons.

“Supporting education and the fine arts is really important,” Lusk said.

Raffle tickets for the quilt will be sold for $5 during the first EFHS football game and throughout the year at different concerts and school-related activities, Burnett said.

Mary Timpf, president of The Crescendo Club, which assists with the Edsel Ford High School’s Performing Arts Department, said the club wants to do fundraising differently so everyone has a chance to participate.

“The economy is tough for everybody,” Timpf said. “We are tying to go out of the box and do a variety of different levels of fundraising.”

Timpf added that the EFHS choir is like a family and taking the trip to Carnegie Hall is a unique experience.

EFHS Chamber Ensemble member Clare Russell, 17 of Dearborn, said she has looked forward to going to New York since she first found out about the trip.

Russell said she participated in several fundraising activities for the trip and the choir put a lot of effort into raising money to go to New York.

Aside from singing in Carnegie Hall, Russell said she is excited to sightsee with her friends.

EFHS Chamber Ensemble member Nathan Booth, 16 of Dearborn, said he is excited that he will spend his first time in New York singing in Carnegie Hall.

“Singing in Carnegie Hall is an amazing thing for anyone who knows New York,” Booth said. He added that he participated in a few garage- sale fundraisers, he did yard work and few other jobs to raise money for the trip. After the performance, Booth plans to tour New York with his friend who visited the city before.

Doyle also plans to take the choir to a workshop to learn with Broadway professionals and to see a Broadway play; the choir will also participate in other tourist ventures.

For more information on the Carnegie Hall trip or to donate money email dmtimpf@wowway.com or doyler@dearborn.k12.mi.us. For more information on the fundraiser activities go to http://blog.dearbornschools.org/crescclub/.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)