EHS Choir Students Prepare for trip to NYC, Performance at Carnegie Hall

It’s an exciting week for EHS choir director Emily Ottwein and 26 of her students as they will travel to New York City to work with Deke Sharon, the arranger of all the music in the Pitch Perfect movies.   

The EHS group, along with students from all over the United States, will spend Friday and Saturday rehearsing before performing under Sharon’s direction at Carnegie Hall on Sunday. 

“Just going to Carnegie Hall is amazing in itself but getting to perform there is any performing arts kid’s dream,” said junior Noelle Sonderegger.  

Ottwein said EHS was selected three years ago for a concert with another clinician after they saw a recording on YouTube of one of the EHS’s performances. The group was supposed to go again last year but had to cancel because of COVID.  

“I am happy we were given this opportunity to go back, and I am more than grateful for the opportunity to sing in Carnegie Hall,” said senior Rowan Foley.  

Ottwein added that they didn’t have to audition for this trip and that once a school has been selected, they can go anytime. However, there were open spots for specific ensembles to audition to sing their own songs. Ottwein submitted a recording of the Chamber Singers singing a version of “Loch Lomond” and it was selected to be a standout performance during the concert. They will also have students performing solos in the repertoire chosen by Mr. Sharon.  

Ottwein is excited for her students to have this experience.  

“They have been exposed to how we do things here and they’ve been exposed to the conductors I bring in, but I’m looking forward to them seeing a bigger picture. Deke Sharon is famous in the composing world, and he’s made it as a career out of music. So, I’m excited for them to see that next level.”  

The choral students have been practicing the music since January in preparation for the trip as they must have it memorized before they go.  

“We’ve been practicing for a while and balancing it with everything else we have going on,” said senior Ryan Whaley. “We’ve been making this a priority though to show that we do deserve to be there.” 

Senior Reese Pifer added that she is looking forward to being able to represent her school.  

“I never imagined I would get to do this. I’ve loved singing for a long time, so to be able to go and represent EHS is crazy to think about.” 

In addition to learning this music, it’s a different type of music than the EHS students are used to. 

“It’s all of Mr. Sharon’s arrangements,” said Ottwein. “He takes popular music and arranges it for choral singing. It’s vocalized instrumental music, which is a different kind of music for them. We sing choral music that is written for choral, so that will be a new experience in itself.” 

In addition to singing and performing at Carnegie Hall, the students will have plenty of other NYC experiences from seeing a Broadway show to going to the 911 museum and taking a harbor cruise past the Statue of Liberty.  

“It’s cool in general to get to perform in Carnegie, but it’s even better to have that experience of being in New York City together as a vocal group and as friends.”