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Cape High chorale members to perform in Carnegie Hall

By Staff | Feb 27, 2020

Select students of Cape Coral High School will have a rare opportunity next month to perform in a legendary New York City venue.

On March 21, six students in Cape Coral High School’s chorus — Cape Chorale — will perform John Rutter’s celebratory composition, Te Deum, at Carnegie Hall along with the Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida and other ensembles, conducted by Florida Gulf Coast University’s Dr. Trent R. Brown.

The performance, part of MidAmerica Productions’ 37th concert season, will mark Brown’s Carnegie Hall debut. They will be accompanied by the New England Symphonic Ensemble.

“The kids are extremely excited,” said Kristi Fish, director of the Cape Chorale at the high school. “We’ve been working once a week since the beginning of the school year on these two works. They’re more difficult than any pieces we’ve worked on so far.”

J. Edmund Hughes, adjunct professor at the University of Puget Sound (Washington State), will conduct the festival chorus in John Rutter’s Gloria, which Cape Chorale will also be performing.

“It’s been a wonderful educational experience for them,” said Fish, who is a FGCU grad in her own right and who will perform alongside her students.

The students will get the opportunity to work with local high school groups on their five-day trip, immerse themselves in New York City theater history and take in some sights along the way.

It’s a trip that they’ll not soon forget.

“My goal is for them to have musical experiences they’ll remember for the rest of their life. Even if their music career ends in high school, I just hope that they remember that and support the arts.”

Fish, who teaches choir, piano and assists with vocals in theater productions, is in her third year at Cape Coral High School. She hopes to convey the true meaning of music to her students — the message behind the lyrics, emotion behind the songs and the barriers it can break.

“Music, I feel, connects people of all ages, cultures, backgrounds, languages,” Fish said. “I want them to just experience what that is — coming together with people you don’t know and working to create something beautiful.

“I don’t want them to just go up there and sing, I want them to say something. Every time we perform, I want someone in the audience to feel the emotions from their voice and the message we try to covey. If the text is in another language, I want them to know what they’re singing about.”

According to a release from MidAmerica Productions, John Rutter composed his Te Deum in 1988 for a service of thanksgiving in Canterbury Cathedral in England. Liturgical considerations and the Cathedral’s spacious acoustics called for a brief, straightforward setting of the ancient and inspiring text-not in Latin but, according to Anglican custom, in the lofty, noble translation of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. MidAmerica Productions presented the New York premiere of this popular work at Carnegie Hall soon after its composition, with the composer conducting.

Along the way, the students will get to your the American Museum of Natural History, take on Rockefeller Center and Times Square, visit the 9/11 Memorial and even go ice skating.

It’s also been a successful year for Fish and her troupe, as just last week they qualified for the state finals. She hopes one year to have her students be a part of Disney Candlelight — a mass choir, joined by a 50-piece live orchestra and celebrity narrator, tell the story of Christmas in words and music.

Fish said the students have been fundraising for the trip but are still looking for donations. Anyone interested in donating to the trip can mail a check made out to Cape Coral High School Chorus to Cape Coral High School.

Cape Coral High School is at 2300 Santa Barbara Blvd.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj