MASON CITY | Mason City High School's Concert Choir will have the performance of a lifetime Saturday evening at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Top awards — five in all — at the Chicago World Strides National Music Festival last spring qualified Mason City singers to participate in Choirs of America Nationals for Top Choirs at Carnegie Hall, which is considered one of the most prestigious venues in the world for classical music.
"New York is where the best performers are, so it's an honor that we as a small school from Iowa get to perform there," said Abby White, an 18-year-old senior alto.
Ben Siglin said he was "beyond grateful" to be part of the concert.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Siglin, an 18-year-old senior tenor.
Fundraising covered the cost of the trip March 22-27, which will also include participating in vocal master classes, attending three Broadway shows, meeting a 9/11 survivor and visiting Ellis Island.
The choir on Tuesday rehearsed with Andrew Last, who is an assistant professor of music at Luther College and directs the college's Nordic Choir.
Last praised students as they sang the last few lines of "True Colors," a commission for the Nordic Choir Mason City will perform on its own at Carnegie Hall.
"Beautiful, really, really beautiful," Last told the choir, who will also sing "Blogodop," "Flight Song," "A Dream within a Dream" and "Freedom Come" as solo selections.
Danny Daugherty said he was grateful to be able to work with someone like Last, who has also helped prepare Mason City singers for the All-State Music Festival.
"We are so lucky to have this program and the community's support," said Daugherty, an 18-year-old senior tenor.
Saturday marks the district's fourth performance at Carnegie Hall, an honor choir director Joel Everist said most smaller schools like Mason City don't even achieve once.
"While this is our fourth time, this is the first time for these students," Everist said. "We are thankful our community supports as we push higher and higher."
At the performance Saturday, Mason City will join more than 1,200 students divided into three mass choirs.
In their mass choir, Mason City vocalists will sing "Let All the World in Every Corner Sing," "I am Not Yours," "Unclouded Day" and the world premiere of "This Dance of Light."