Two All State singers travel to Carnegie Hall

By: Annebeth Ahrenholz

About two weeks after the 2013 All-State concert, juniors Mitch Dekutoski and Julianna Norby received letters from the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall inviting them to audition for their program

“It looked like a rare opportunity for me, so I decided to audition. I sent in a recording of a solo I sang for solo contest that year and waited six months before I found out I got selected for it,” Dekutoski said.

This audition was no small deal; only a select number make it as finalists. “The 500 finalists flew in from all around the country and the world to New York City, which is where we would perform in Carnegie Hall,” Dekutoski said.

He was amazed the moment he stepped inside Carnegie Hall. “When we first walked into the auditorium, I was blown away. The architecture was so beautiful, every little detail you could see from the floor. We then got sound checked, and I was so happy to be up on the stage for the first time. But that was nothing in comparison to when we actually got to perform. When I heard the first note of the night, I was astounded. The acoustics were so perfect. I could hear every individual voice. I sang my heart out that day, and it felt so good. When we finished, the standing ovation lasted forever. Then we heard the band and the orchestra, and their performances were perfect. I heard nothing wrong the rest of the concert, and the acoustics only made it better. And, of course, they got a lasting standing ovation, as well. It was definitely the best concert I’ve ever been a part of.”

Norby agreed that Carnegie Hall was amazing. “It was great. The architecture was gorgeous, and it was huge. We sounded really well when we sang together because of the resonance in the hall. Also, Carnegie Hall is two blocks from Central Park. After the performance, we got a huge yacht and got to sight see and stuff. Rehearsals were really long, but it was definitely worth it.”

Dekutoski spent a majority of his time there rehearing. But in his downtime, he had time to do some sightseeing too. “We got to see a Broadway show. I saw Phantom of the Opera. We went to the top of the Rockefeller Center, and after the concert, we celebrated on a yacht that toured New York Harbor, so we got to see the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.”

Dekutoski and Norby performed six pieces in Carnegie Hall: “The Creation” by Willy Richter, “Still wie die Nacht (Calm as the Night)” by Karl Bohm, “Anthem for Spring” from Cavalleria Rusticana, “You are the Music” by Dan Forrest, “Shenandoah/He’s Gone Away” by Mark Hayes and “This Little Light of Mine” also by Mark Hayes.

Dekutoski said the experience was packed with pleasurable surprises. “I didn’t know about the yacht until they sent out the itinerary with all the music and other information, but when I heard about it, I was so pumped. So after the concert, we got to see our parents and go out to dinner and get out of our concert attire,so after that, we boarded some buses that took us to a pier, and we got boarded on the yacht. There was a dance floor, four different decks, food and drinks, blaring music and it wasn’t too cold to go outside for a while. It was so cool.”

All around, Dekutoski was blown away at this amazing opportunity he was able to do, and he is eager to see what the future holds. “This is definitely an experience I’ll never forget. The people I met, the director I got to perform under, singing in one of the world’s biggest stages — it was all so amazing, and I learned so much from it, for both my voice and my being. I definitely know I am auditioning again next year.”

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