from Tom McAlexander, Music Director:
“It was a cold January in 2008 when 25 singers from the Hilo Community Chorus (along with another 18 from the University, of which we were still a part), traveled to New York for the inaugural concert of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) featuring music of (Sir) Karl Jenkins (He has since been knighted). We had just performed his Requiem in Hilo, and they were looking for American choruses which had performed the work to sing at Carnegie Hall. Our conductor was DCINY’s co-founder and principal conductor Jonathan Griffith–one of the world’s great choral and orchestra conductors. (The other work on the program was Sir Karl’s The Armed Man.) I don’t believe any one of us complained about the cold. It was one of the highlights of our lives. And, we had plenty of time to see a few Broadway plays and eat in some great restaurants. About half of our singers who went to New York that first year are still members of the Chorus.
Since that time small groups or individuals from our Chorus have traveled to New York and other parts of the world to sing with DCINY choruses. It is always worth whatever it costs. Emma had always said she didn’t want to go–she had seen New York. Then she went. She even sat in on our rehearsal with Dr. Griffith. Couldn’t believe how much he was able to do with the large chorus he was working with. Now she wants to go back. So do I.
DCINY is not like other concert promoters. Although they can be of assistance in getting housing, travel, etc., that is not their focus. Their focus is concerts and education. We have always handled our logistics ourselves, individually, and it has worked out great. We can stay at five star hotels or at hostels. We can eat at five star restaurants or small delis. We have to be in New York for rehearsals on Friday and Saturday and concert on Sunday (if my recollection is correct–maybe it’s Saturday and Sunday rehearsals with concert on Monday), but evenings are free and we can stay as long as we want. The latest figures I have for two clinical rehearsals, a dress rehearsal, and concert at Carnegie Hall is $840 per singer unless we have 10 or more, then it’s $790 per singer. VIP travelers (or as I call ‘em, tag-alongs) cost half that amount, and they can have access to our rehearsals as well to the gala party that follows (the real reason I want to go). Or the tag-alongs can just go, purchase a ticket to the concert, and skip the gala.
January 2018 will mark DCINY’s tenth anniversary, and they will once again feature music of Sir Karl in their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. concert. I wrote to Iris Derke, co-founder and general director of DCINY and got this reply “And Aloha to you too Tom! Your beautiful words mean the world to me….especially that you remember our impending 10th anniversary. Having you and your singers with us for the grand opening of an extraordinary decade will be a cherry on top! Bravo!! Yes yes — Sir Karl will be with us in January of 2018 ”
For this 10th anniversary, we were first notified that Sir Karl would compose a 10-minute piece. That has changed. He now is in the process of composing a full-length work (probably 40-45 minutes long) titled “Sing, the Music Was Given” based on a poem by Thomas Moore entitled “Sing–Sing–Music Was Given.” So, for a change, Sir Karl is not composing a religious piece, but one about music. I wonder how many of you have ever sung a major world premiere work–and at Carnegie Hall. OK, I’m stoked!
Let’s make 2018 a really big year and start it in New York singing at Carnegie Hall! Aloha, — Tom”
UPDATE MARCH 2017–We presently have more than 10 singers from Hilo signed up for this trip (so we are at the reduced rate of $790) and more singers are welcome. It is not too late to sign up…yet. DCINY will continue to accept singers until their quota (usually around 250 singers) is met. I am to notify them of any new singers, but I won’t do so until we receive your first deposit check ($200 made payable to “Hilo Community Chorus” with memo note “for DCINY trip” or something similar). Community singers not presently singing with HCC but wishing to sing in this event as guests of our group, please contact Tom. At a later date we will also ask how many accompanying non-singers will go with us.
For more information email Tom McAlexander at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (808) 985-7192
(photo from NYconcertreview.com)