There’s an old joke that goes, “Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?”, “Yes, practice!”
My trip to Carnegie Hall didn’t start at the airport, it began with the dream. It continued with the vision and finally, last week, I achieved one of the greatest things on my bucket list.
As I stood on stage at Carnegie Hall, its four balconies rising before me, I thought of the great people who had stood in this very spot. I was humbled. I even pinched myself to make sure I was really living this moment!
I attended choir for a year to prepare for this day, practicing and learning the music that I envisioned us eventually performing. I made travel plans, knowing that this was a commitment to make this dream happen.
The choir consisted of 11 churches from seven states. Each person there was excited to share the word through music, reaching people from all over the globe.
After arriving in New York City, we spent a day practicing. This was the first time that all 225 of us had practiced together. For over five hours, we sang. It sounded beautiful.
The next day, most of our voices were strained and needed rest so we spent the day exploring New York City.
The day of the performance, we left the hotel dressed in our concert dress, all black.
We entered through the stage door, hung our coats, and proceeded upstairs to the stage. On our way, we passed through the famous “green room”. This is the same room where the New York Philharmonic, Judy Garland and many others had prepared moments before their performances on this very stage.
Finally, we were standing on the infamous Carnegie Hall stage.
It was time for a full sound check. We listened to instructions and remembered when to stand, when to sit.
During dress rehearsal, we did a full run through of the performance. We were given 12 minutes for break. Can you imagine, 12 minutes for 135 women to powder their noses?!
After dinner, we returned to the Carnegie Hall stage. The anticipation of the performance was exhilarating.
There wasn’t a curtain on the stage so we sat and watched as the hall filled with the audience. I thought to myself, “How strange it must feel for our guests to look up at the stage and see us sitting there”.
When it was time to sing, our composer and conductor, Phil Barefoot, took the stage in full tuxedo dress. His choir of 225 voices all anxiously waited for the first downbeat to share our message through song.
The night was glorious!! I don’t believe we had ever sung with more power and command.
Our voices seemed to lift us from the stage, above the audience. It was so powerful.
The soloists expanded their volume, captivating the audience and choir with their talents.
After the performance, we walked from the stage with a collective feeling of pride. We had reached our goal and achieved a powerful, magical performance.
At the hotel, I fell into bed, exhausted and exhilarated from the day.
What did I take away from the performance?
We have the opportunity to create the best life possible. Whether your dream is a chance to sing at the infamous Carnegie Hall or to climb Mount Everest, it starts with a thought. It is continued with the vision and the action and finally, it is realized.