Some of choir instructor Roger Harabedian’s choir members at Madera South High School are preparing for the performance of their lives. They are getting ready for the National Youth Choir Festival at New York City’s Carnegie Hall in April 2020 by putting in overtime to fine tune their musical talent.
The veteran, local music master has taken students to perform in New York City before, but never to Carnegie Hall.
A few months ago, Harabedian received a telephone invitation from the festival promoters to submit an audition tape, and got the word recently that his students made the grade. Madera South’s festival singers will come from all of Harabedian’s choirs and will most likely number from 20 to 30 performers.
In practice Friday, the faces of the students shone with gladness, as eyes sparkled and torsos swayed. No one was immune to the excitement, not even Harabedian, who sometimes joined the rhythmic movements of his singers.
The Madera students don’t know what numbers they will perform, nor do they know at present who will conduct them, other than it will be a highly recognized professional.
Preparation for the festival, therefore, will consist of a variety of challenging numbers.
A second challenge, perhaps more rigorous than preparing for the spotlight at Carnegie Hall, will be that of raising the funds for each student. The trip will cost approximately $3,000 per student. Fundraisers have already put them close to 15 percent of their goal, and the students continue to invest an abundance of “sweat equity” to raise the rest of money.
According to Harabedian, a half-dozen fundraisers are scheduled in the next couple of months. One of the most promising is the “Cycle for MSHS Choir.”
On Saturday, Nov. 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. the CycleBar on Friant Road in Fresno is opening its doors to supporters of the MSHS choir. For a $30 donation, festival patrons can help the kids go to New York and get a workout on the bikes, a free t-shirt, and choir water bottle. For those who want to support the cause but don’t want to mount the bikes, a $40 donation will put a student on the bike in the donor’s place.
To register for the “Rock Your Ride” event, log on to https://bit.ly/2MToBWO or call MSHS.
In addition to the bike event, the students are selling See’s candies, and scheduling performances for businesses and organizations who might want live Holiday music during the coming Christmas Season.
Then on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m., it will be “Movies Madera,” and the community can support the choir with a $25 donation, which will give patrons a private showing of Disney’s “Frozen 2,” complete with drinks and refreshments.
Local businesses are urged to consider supporting the Festival Fundraiser by engaging the choir for special performances.
All funds generated will be applied to the cost of airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, ground transportation, and festival fees.