High school choir to sing carols as fundraiser for NYC trip
Look no further than Steamboat Springs High School Choir when searching for carolers this holiday season. The young vocalists will offer festive tunes house-to-house to spread holiday cheer and to raise money to attend the National Youth Choir Festival in New York City.
The festival is an annual event that attracts some of the best-known teachers, composers and conductors in the choral industry, along with students from across the country to learn, rehearse and perform at Carnegie Hall.
Steamboat’s choir auditioned for the festival last year — by sending in a recording of the group performing a song — and were selected, but the trip was postponed due to the pandemic. Now, the group has a second chance and is headed to New York in March. First, they need to raise the funds to get there.
Choirmaster Wendy Dillon said the group of 22 students has already raised about $4,000. They performed several times at the Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market over the summer, hosted bake sales and with the holiday season in full swing, now are looking to carol at holiday parties for donations.
Dillon hopes to secure a bus to take the choir house-to-house Dec. 17. The plan is to have people sign up for a 10-minute time slot, the choir will arrive outside a house, sing for 10 minutes, collect a suggested donation and head to the next location.
The choir will also perform at Main Street Steamboat’s A Very Steamboat Holiday Festival on Dec. 11.
The students are aiming to raise between $40,000 and $50,000 by the end of January when the payment is due. All the funds raised will go toward the cost of the trip, including airfare, hotel and food, along with sightseeing costs. The group plans to catch a Broadway show and visit landmarks like the 9/11 memorial, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
“It’s really exciting,” said Hayden Curry, a junior and member of the choir. “We’re hoping to raise as much money as we can because we all really want to go. We can’t believe that we get to go to New York and sing at Carnegie Hall. … I mean, it’s Carnegie Hall.”
The group plans to leave Steamboat on March 17 and return five days later. During its time in New York, the choir will work with conductor Rollo Dilworth, a professor of choral music education and chair of the department of music education and therapy at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia. He has conducted 50 all-state choirs, six regional honor choirs and five national honor choirs. He’s also published more than 150 choral compositions and arrangements.
Rehearsals will be held over a two-day period and the concert, with a concert March 20, which includes choirs from other schools across the country.
“Being able to sing with choirs from around the country and with over 100 people at once is a powerful experience,” Dillon said. “For us, it’s a great opportunity for the students to work with a world-renowned conductor and other choir students who are dedicated and devoted. It will be an amazing experience.”
Members of the choir will be available for caroling throughout the month and are eagerly accepting donations from local businesses or individuals. To schedule caroling, contact Wendy Dillon at email@example.com. The community is also invited to donate to the choir via its Venmo account, @SSHS-Choir, or on its GoFundMe page.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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