Chandler takes on Carnegie

Sisam Shrestha

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Director of Choral Activities and associate professor, Dr. Deborah Chandler, will be directing a concert choir on June 5 2017, in New York City’s Carnegie Hall produced by Mid America Productions.

Dr. Chandler, who has been conducting choirs for about 40 years, directs the ULM Concert Choir, University Chorale and her church choir.

The group will be performing Morten Lauridsen’s 32 minutes long Latin piece “Lux Aeterna” alongside New England Chamber Orchestra.

“I have done it (Lux Aeterna) with organ before, but I have never done it with an orchestra. So that will be something different for me,” Chandler said.

According to Chandler, one can either take their own choir to perform or can put together a group of interested participants to perform in the choir.

“I wanted anyone to be able to sing in this concert, especially people that I direct now. I have three choirs here at ULM. I have the Monroe Symphony Chorus that I conduct, and I have a church choir. I kind of put the word out and we’re pulling together, hopefully, a choir of 125 by the time we take the trip,” Chandler said.

Chandler is also looking forward to participants from Neville High School, schools from South Texas, nearby Monroe communities and any interested singers.

At the moment, about 25 ULM students will be accompanying Chandler to Carnegie Hall.

Since all the expenses are individual, Chandler and the students are trying to come up with as many fundraisers as possible to fund the travelling costs.

“We have a fundraising committee made up of people from all of the different choir representatives going and some of our ULM students will be offering babysitting for parents to go Christmas shopping and at Valentine’s for people to go out and have Valentine’s dinner,” Chandler said.

The team also plans to collaborate with local restaurants, conduct a raffle and have a silent auction within the coming months.

“The winner (of the raffle) will receive a trip for two to New York with tickets to the Phantom of the Opera, backstage tour, hotel, flight. It’s going to be a big deal,” Chandler said.

Chandler plans to start Monday night rehearsal from the middle of February until the moment the group leaves for Carnegie Hall.

Although Chandler will have to work with a varied crowd, she feels her past experiences will come to her aid.

“I direct church choir and community choir and have all my life, which is kind of a ‘coming from all directions choir’ as opposed to seeing my school choir every day. I think time will be on our side, that we’ll just get used to each other and become our own choir,” Chandler said

Although the initial practices will only be with the choir, Chandler plans to put both the choir and the New England Chamber Orchestra together for a dress rehearsal before the concert.

As for the after party, the group will have a dinner cruise down the Hudson river in a sightseeing cruise ship.

“If someone wants to participate, they just have to know that they pay their own way. We will do some fundraising to help out. Up until March 1st people can add onto our group as long as they enjoy singing and want to do the rehearsals with me,” Chandler said.