On Tuesday, May 10, several Upper Dublin High School girls got what some would call the chance of a lifetime. The Motet Choir of the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, along with the Graduate Choir of the Keystone State Boychoir, performed as part of the 2011 Marian Anderson Annual Award Gala at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center.
Not only did the choirs get to sing at the prestigious venue, but they also sang “Let the River Run” with songwriter Carly Simon.
“Singing at this event was really exciting,” said Katie O’Mara, a singer in the Girlchoir and student at Upper Dublin. “Being at the Marian Anderson Annual Award Gala is an honor, and being able to sing at it is even cooler.”
Katie, 14, has been singing in the Girlchoir for three years. This is her first year singing in the Motet choir.
“Singing with Carly Simon was a great experience that I will never forget. Even being able to rehearse with her was awesome," Katie said. "It was a fantastic experience, I had a lot of fun, and I am so proud to have been able to be a part of it."
At the gala, Mia Farrow was recognized for her humanitarian work with UNICEF and the people of Darfur. “Let the River Run” was sung in tribute to Farrow.
“I remember stepping out onto the stage during our first rehearsal with both the orchestra and Carly Simon, listening to the orchestra tune and thinking how lucky I was to be able to sing at this venue,” said Lauren Kelly, another singer in the Girlchoir. “We were all awestruck.”
Lauren, 17, has been singing in the choir for four years.
“I never cease to be amazed at the opportunities the choir provides us,” Lauren said.
Lauren was impressed with Carly Simon's singing ability and her personality, as well.
“The most impressive was how she took the time to connect with the choir. During rehearsals, she stressed how important it was to convey meaning behind the songs we sing, and shared her ideas and insight with us about ‘Let the River Run’,” Lauren said.
The choir also performed “The Music Makers” by Nicolas White, a piece commissioned by the choirs in 2009.
“This is quite an honor for the Girlchoir to be asked to perform with professionals at such a prestigious event,” said Laura O’Mara, Katie O’Mara’s mother and parent volunteer for the choir.
The Philadelphia Orchestra, soprano Angela Brown and Best New Artist Grammy winner jazz artist Esperanza Spalding also performed at the Gala, hosted by Judith Jamison, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey Dance company.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, visit www.pagirlchoir.org.