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Gardens children’s choir to sing at Carnegie Hall — if it gets the money


A dozen singers between the ages of 8 and 18 need help getting to Carnegie Hall this summer.

They have until May 15, at the latest, to come up with the $1,500 they need for the five-day trip.

A Palm Beach Gardens youth chorus has the “pinch me” opportunity that even accomplished musicians would envy: performing on the stage of the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City.

They need your help making their dreams come true, though. Despite yard sales, bake sales, pizza nights and letter-writing campaigns, about a dozen hard-working singers haven’t been able to come up with the $1,500 they need to pay for the trip, said Sandi Russell, co-founding artistic director of the Palm Beach Children’s Chorus.

VIDEO: Children sing, dance to ‘Footloose’

About 25 singers between the ages of 8 and 18 are on the list to attend the Choirs of America’s Choral Convergence Festival for five days and four nights this June, Russell said. Nine have none of the money they need, and three or four have paid some of the cost but not the total, she said.

“We really, really, really don’t want to leave anyone behind,” she said.

The soft deadline is April 30, and the absolute latest is May 15, Russell said.

The singers who rehearse in Palm Beach Gardens come from all over the county. Some of their families have someone suffering from severe illness or had a tragic occurrence in their lives. Sometimes, they simply struggle financially in their day-to-day lives.

They all deserve the opportunity, and they all work incredibly hard, Russell said.

They started learning the repertoire in December and rehearse two days per week, including a four-hour rehearsal on Saturdays, Russell said. They will add another two-hour weeknight rehearsal as the festival gets closer to put in a full eight hours per week.

In other words, they earned this trip.

The music they’ll be performing is “very rigorous” and in multiple languages, Russell said. One of the pieces is “Dôme épais” from the French opera “Lakme.” A joint choir of 450 singers from across the United States and the Czech Republic will perform the world premiere of “May the Road Rise to Meet You,” by Composer-in-Residence Tesfa Wondemagegnehu.

The choir will get to perform two of its own pieces on stage. The educational program will include spending a day at Queens College working with renowned choral clinicians, Russell said.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” she said.

The chorus is not just about the music. The mother of one singer whose daughter has an attention disorder said her daughter is more able to focus in school, and her performance has improved after she auditioned and joined the choir.

And the singers are taught to serve.

“You have to share your gifts and talents with the community.”

To support the singers:

Visit any Wells Fargo and tell the banker you’d like to donate to the Palm Beach Children’s Chorus - Carnegie Hall, or give online at

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