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Choir: Carnegie Hall or bust

Stephanie Delorenzi will turn 17 years old on May 3. And there's only one thing the Clearwater High School junior wants for her birthday: to be on a flight to New York City that day with her fellow chorus members.

By RITA FARLOW
Published March 24, 2007


CLEARWATER

Stephanie Delorenzi will turn 17 years old on May 3. And there's only one thing the Clearwater High School junior wants for her birthday: to be on a flight to New York City that day with her fellow chorus members. The school has been asked to perform at Carnegie Hall, America's most famous concert venue, on May 6. "You have to be invited to perform and we have been this year for the first time in ... ever, actually," said chorus director Pam Murphy.

Junior Eric Weber, 17, said he was ecstatic about the opportunity.

"It's kind of like every kid's dream to perform at Carnegie Hall," he said.

The students will perform John Rutter's Requiem with several other high schools and church choirs in the Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie's largest hall. The choir will be accompanied by the New England Symphonic Ensemble.

The group was invited by MidAmerica Productions, a concert production company that puts on 60 shows per year at Carnegie, said company public relations director Susan Case.

"It is an honor. We don't accept every group that wants to sing," Case said.

The cost per student is $1,375. Despite several fundraisers, the students have not yet been able to raise the full amount, Murphy said.

The group still needs to raise about $5,000 to pay for the trip. "We are asking our community members and businesses at this point for donations," she said

Booster club president Kathi Liadis said the group has tried everything it could to collect the money.

"We have had garage sales, done cookie fundraising, holiday chocolates, two carwashes and many parents are volunteering at the St. Pete Times Forum working the concession stand during hockey games," she said.

Liadis said she can't bear the thought that the teens might not be able to go because of a lack of funds. She knows what they would miss, Liadis said, because she performed at Carnegie herself in 1981 as a college student.

"It is just amazing," she said. "It's an unbelievable experience. Just walking in there, I had tears in my eyes. It's very important to me that these young musicians have such an opportunity."

Delorenzi said she and her classmates try not to think about the possibility that they may not raise all of the money in time.

"It's always in the back of our minds," she said, "because this is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and every performer's dream, so to not be able to go because of a few thousand dollars, that's going to be heartbreaking."

To help

Choir's dream trip

Make checks payable to CHS Choir Boosters Inc., c/o Pam Murphy, Clearwater High School, 540 S Hercules Ave., Clearwater, FL 33764, or call Murphy at 298-1620, ext. 189.