October 31, 2018 5:51 pm
Updated: October 31, 2018 7:47 pm

Durham high school choir chosen to perform at Carnegie Hall this spring

WATCH ABOVE: The O'Neill Chamber Choir from O'Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Oshawa, will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City in April after being discovered on YouTube. Susan Hay has the story.


DURHAM – You have likely heard the saying that practice makes perfect and for the music students at O’Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Oshawa, it was their practicing and dedication that drew the attention of a famous musician – to their talents.

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“I actually uploaded a video of us singing in Toronto last year and a few months later we found out that Eric Whitacre, one of the biggest choral composers in modern day, saw my video on YouTube,” said Michael Posthumus, O’Neill Chamber Choir. “Because of that our choir was invited to sing with Eric at Carnegie Hall –which I’m still in shock about.”

The video was discovered by Distinguished Concerts International New York who invited the O’Neill Chamber Choir to participate in a performance next spring called ‘The Music of Eric Whitacre’, at Carnegie Hall.

“They were searching for choirs that are of a certain calibre to be a part of this experience with Eric Whitacre,” said O’Neill Chamber Choir’s director, Erin Collins. “The choir has always been recognized internationally so we try to maintain that standard of excellence.”

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One of the members of the choir, Machaela Tyson, said she’s thrilled that they were picked.

“Honestly, I am so excited,” said Tyson. “We really owe everything to Miss Collins. She puts all of her energy into us and we are so grateful for her.”

The once-in-a lifetime opportunity offers a three day residency which includes rehearsals with the world renowned composer and conductor, Eric Whitacre on April 26th and 27th  of next year. It will be followed by a dress rehearsal, concert and reception on April 28th  .

But this experience also comes with a steep price.

“We have 25 students that are in the O’Neill Chamber Choir,” said Collins. “The cost for the trip is $1,500 and then to be a part of the three day residency and concert it will be another $1,000 per student. We are doing some major fundraising to make sure that all students are able to go.”

Tyson, however says its a seemingly small price to pay for bragging rights.

“Imagine we are all going to be able to say ‘I performed in Carnegie Hall at 17/18 years-old,’ ” gushed Tyson. “It’s really crazy.”

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