Miami music ensembles take on the Big Apple
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 22:10
The 2011-2012 academic year was declared ‘Year of the Arts’ by President David Hodge, and James Lentini, director of the School of Creative Arts, took it as a chance to make a formal proposal to perform at Carnegie Hall.
Lentini said he had been trying to create such a trip since his first year at Miami University in 2007, but budget issues and tight schedules did not permit him to do so.
Finally, in 2011 Miami received approval from Carnegie Hall for a performance 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7 in front of more than 1,500 people. Miami is sending seven ensembles: the Chamber Singers, Jazz Ensemble, Collegiate Chorale, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, the Choraliers and Men’s Glee Club. There will be 417 students performing.
Lentini said the trip gives students a unique experience.
“If you want to do something like Carnegie Hall, automatically you are giving your students potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Lentini said.
Carnegie Hall opened in New York City in 1891 and has become a world-renowned concert hall and showcase for musicians of distinction in all genres.
Junior Victoria Barnhart, a member of Collegiate Choral, said she feels this opportunity gives her bragging rights. Being able to say she has performed on a world renowned stage is “priceless” in her eyes.
Many of the students performing on this renowned stage aren’t necessarily even studying music, Marketing and Communications Director for the School of Creative Arts, Jeanne Harmeyer said.
“In many cases these students are not music majors, so for a chemistry major to be able to perform on the stage of Carnegie Hall, that’s really something they will tell their grandkids about,” Harmeyer said.
Barnhart said she is most excited about performing onstage in her favorite city in the world, but she is also eager to explore parts of New York City that are less touristy since she has been to the city before. An additional benefit of a trip like this is the musicians have a chance to explore the city both Friday and Saturday afternoon following their rehearsals.
“I am super pumped [to go to New York], and I am happy that all the ensembles are going too because I have friends in [practically] every ensemble, so it’s going to be awesome,” Barnhart said.
Performing at Carnegie also gives the university an opportunity to reach out to alumni.
The Center for Performing Arts and the Alumni Center have organized events for both students and alumni in New York City like a pre-concert brunch.
Ray Mock, executive director of Miami Alumni Association, said the Alumni Center has been promoting this event for the past several months and have received a tremendous response. Mock said he feels the foresight to form a collaboration between the centers is the reason for their success.
The ticket sales have been more successful than the original prediction of around a thousand attendees, but another section was opened when the ticket sales exceeded 1,500.
While advertising to create an audience for this event was important, it was only a portion of the planning. Massive amounts of data were collected from students and plans were made to move the instruments as well, according to Harmeyer.
Though various offices helped subsidize the cost of the trip, students on the trip did have to pay $250 to off-set the cost, according to Connie Asher, assistant to the dean for operations and finance in the School of Creative Arts.
Graduate assistant to director of Marketing and Communications for the School of Creative Arts, Chris Dudley spent most of his time working to collect student information and figuring out any problems that could arise.
“I would say between all the involved parties doing the planning every contingency that we could predict has been covered, and [everything] should go off without a hitch,” Dudley said.
Lentini said the amount of planning and rehearsals that have taken place makes him feel this will be a successful event and a great way to showcase what Miami has to offer.
“[This opportunity] really shows that Miami has high quality ensembles and students, and the faculty members that direct the students are top notch,” Barnhart said.