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TCU 360

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Christmas concert in New York invites choir to fifth performance

The choir is continuing a tradition of traveling to New York City and showcasing its talents at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops, the largest independent symphonic pops orchestra in the U.S..The choir was formally invited earlier this year, and now preparation for the December performance is in full swing.

Ronald Shirey, choral music professor, said the better part of the fall semester is spent getting ready for the performance, which will include “The Many Moods of Christmas,” a compilation of well-known Christmas Carols including “Oh Holy Night,” “Joy to the World,” “March of the Three Kings,” “Away in a Manger” and “O Sanctissima.”

TCU’s first Carnegie Hall invitation was in 1993 after Skitch Henderson, founder of the New York Pops, inquired about whom his friend Shirey was working with after his retirement from the Dallas Symphony.

The answer led him to attend a choir production at TCU.

“He liked what he heard and wanted the chorus to come to New York City,” Shirey said.

While the Pops doesn’t have a resident choir per se, James Johnson, executive director of The New York Pops, said there is no other choir that has performed as often with the orchestra as TCU. The concert will be the fifth time the choir has performed with the New York Pops, Johnson said.

Johnson said he shared Henderson’s thoughts on the TCU Choir.

“It was Skitch’s opinion that while there are excellent choruses in New York, none surpasses the excellence of the group coming from Fort Worth,” Johnson said. “It has been an honor to invite them back time and again.”

But the choir isn’t planning a fundraiser for the trip anytime soon.

“Students must pay their own expenses,” Shirey said. “There are no fundraisers – that is not the style of TCU and I don’t want to do that.”

Paige Myrick, a junior vocal performance major and returning performer at the Carnegie show, said she is looking forward to the trip as a reward for finishing finals.

“The first time I went I was starstruck by Carnegie Hall,” Myrick said. “This time hopefully I will be able to appreciate it more.”

Richard Gipson, director of the School of Music, said he feels this performance is an extraordinary opportunity and is a true testament to Shirey and the talent of the choir.

“The Pops could pick any choir in the world, but they choose TCU and keep inviting us back,” Gipson said.

Going back to the hall for a second time and being able to share the experience with friends in the choir is what senior biology major Sam McMillen said he is looking forward to the most.

“This is the music schools’ time to shine,” McMillen said.

Tickets for the Dec. 14 and 15 event go on sale September 17 and range in price from $27-$98.

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