After a successful performance Thursday night of Choirpalooza at Carson High School, members of CHS Concert Choir are now preparing their pipes for the Festival of Gold in Los Angeles.
On March 24, 60 members of the ensemble will be driving in chaperoned vans to represent Carson City in Southern California. They’ll be spending five days performing with top ensembles from across the western region, along with attending seminars and rehearsals with professional choral directors.
Thanks to the non-profit Carson Choral Boosters Club, they helped the choir raise $23,000 for travel expenses.
“They had to perform last year and get a high enough grade from judges to even go to this,” said Bonnie Hoffecker, Boosters secretary. “It’s not a normal competition. They earned a spot and invitation.”
This is a special trip for many members as they were formally invited to perform because of their “gold level” presentation at the Heritage Festival in Anaheim, Calf., last year. To reach gold level status in a performance is prestigious; it means the group has been ranked above the 90 percentile range to perform with top ensembles across the western region. The Festival of Gold is a program to celebrate and encourage musical excellence, with classes hosted by conductors and music mentors from around the nation.
However, when it comes to gas and meals, the group could use about $2,000 more in donations. At this point, the students are paying for their own meals in L.A.
Andy Sonnemaker, director of the chorus and department head of fine arts, said the Boosters club was created for parents and volunteers to assist in choral performances. The Boosters also host fundraisers, raffles, and other charitable opportunities for the community to donate.
Sonnemaker said for a creative community such as Carson City, there’s a lack of choral culture.
But with support from the community, it encourages students to continue their passion for years to come, such as possibly becoming a director for future generations of local choirs.
“This is a positive activity that instills students a sense of connectivity,” Sonnemaker said. “It gives them the freedom to express themselves. The choir is like a family for most, they feel like they belong somewhere. It continues their inspiration.”
There are three ways the community can contribute to CHS Concert Choir’s trip to L.A. next Friday. The Boosters are hosting a raffle for four upcoming area concerts; prizes include four tickets and a suite to each live show of A Perfect Circle, Celtic Woman, Chris Tomlin, and Dierks Bentley.
It’s $5 for one raffle ticket, and $20 for five raffle tickets.
Donations also are accepted through checks or through their site: crowdrise.com/carson-high-school-choir-festival-of-gold-trip-and-competition/fundraiser/suzanneremington.
For more information about donations, Hoffecker can be reached at 775-721-5762.