Students will get to Carnegie Hall

WW-P choirs, orchestras will perform Friday evening in the Isaac Stern Auditorium.

By: Gwen Runkle
   The combined choirs and orchestras of West Windsor-Plainsboro High Schools North and South must have practiced plenty, because in a rare opportunity they both will be performing Friday evening in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall.
   "This is an unheard-of situation," said Jean Mauro, orchestra director at High School South. "From my understanding, it is the only time a high school group has been scheduled to perform on a coveted Friday evening."
   The event was made possible by John Baker, a Lawrence resident who works at The Lawrenceville School and records concerts for area schools, including High Schools North and South, Ms. Mauro said.
   "He did all the organizing and fund raising for this event for nothing," she said. "We are very grateful."
   The groups will perform Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem, conducted by Princeton University Professor Penna Rose.
   Professional soloists Rochelle Ellis, who recently was recorded on "Live at Lincoln Center" singing "Porgy and Bess," and Metropolitan Opera soloist Elem Ely will be on hand and the high school choirs also will be joined by members of Princeton Pro Musica and High School South alumni from as early as 1980, Ms. Mauro said.
   To begin the concert, the combined orchestras will perform Franz Liszt’s "Les Preludes," conducted by Ms. Mauro.
   David Christensen, the choir director of High School South, will conduct the last performance of the evening, Peter Lutkin’s "The Benediction."
   It will be Mr. Christensen’s final performance as he will be retiring from his position as choir director this spring, Ms. Mauro added.
   Mary Jacobsen, the vocal director at High School North, and John Enz, the vocal and orchestra director for Community Middle School and High School North, will also be participating.
   "Not many people get the chance to play at Carnegie Hall," Ms. Mauro said. "And to have the opportunity to play in one of the top halls in the world is a phenomenal situation for the kids."
   According to Ms. Mauro, there are 213 students in the combined orchestras and about 180 students in the combined choirs.
   Friday’s performance will begin at 8 p.m. and will be dedicated to members of the West Windsor and Plainsboro communities lost in the terrorist attacksof Sept. 11.
   So far about 1,400 tickets have been sold for the concert, but balcony seats priced at $15 should still be available, Ms. Mauro said. Tickets can be purchased from Carnegie Hall by calling (212) 247-7800.
   Buses will be leaving from High School South at 5:30 p.m. for the performance. The cost of a bus seat is $20. To reserve a seat, contact Pattie Lamb, choir parent, at (609) 918-1520.