Eastview invited to Perform at Carnegie Hall

Dear Eastview Music Families,

Last spring, the Eastview Concert Choir was given the honour of being invited to the Lincoln Center in New York City to perform the work Calling All Dawns with a professional orchestra and other amateur choirs from around the world. Regrettably, due to a number of factors, we needed to decline the invitation in spite of our best efforts.

Just this week, the same production company contacted me again about a similar collaboration they are putting together for February 2021, in the hopes that with a more comfortable timeline we might be able to participate. This time the work is “Lux: The Dawn from on High” by Dan Forrest, taking place at the world renowned Carnegie Hall, also located in New York City. If Eastview were to participate, I would also invite recent alumni to join. Currently, I would like to see if there is enough interest for us to pursue this opportunity. Please read on if interested, but in a nutshell, we are being offered an amazing once-in-lifetime musical experience, with the caveat of it coming at a substantial cost.

Quick Facts

  • Trip Dates: Friday, February 12 to Tuesday, February 16, 2021 (over the Family Day long weekend). The Friday and Tuesday would be travel days.
  • Itinerary Overview: On the Saturday and Sunday we would have half day workshops/rehearsals and the rest of the time would be available for sightseeing. The Monday will consist of the dress rehearsal, concert, and post-concert reception. We may offer optional add-ons at extra cost, for example, a Broadway show.
  • Cost: In the ballpark of $2000, detailed below.
  • Who: To minimize travel costs, I’d like to bring a full bus load, or approximately 50 participants. If we get at least 25 Eastview students interested, I will try to fill the remaining spots by drawing from the community and/or running a parallel NYC trip with the Eastview orchestra.
  • Fundraising: I would hope to use fundraising to reduce the cost, but I would be looking for a volunteer to spearhead this initiative.
  • Travel: Coach Bus
  • Timelines: We’ve been asked to determine if we’re interested by late next week, and to provide a first deposit of CDN $300 by mid-March. Remaining payments would be spread out throughout 2020.
  • Trip administration: We would hire Brightspark Tours (or a similar reputable travel company) to handle travel arrangements, and payments would be remitted directly to them. This trip would NOT be a school trip under the umbrella of the SCDSB, as the school board is no longer supporting international trips except in very specific circumstances.
  • Safety and Supervision: There would be at minimum 1 adult for every 10 students on the trip, including myself and a guide provided by the travel company. It is possible that I would have to be separate from the rest of the tour for the bus ride to and from NYC as I would not be able to miss teaching time for a non-school trip. With parent permission, students would be allowed to separate from chaperones at specified times during daylight hours. Other safety related policies would mirror what is typically common on school trips.
  • Rehearsals: We’re expected to learn the music in advance. We’ll do as much as we can in May and June after the choir Gala, and then as needed over the summer break. We’ll then meet in the late fall or early winter approximately three times on weekends, in an effort to coincide with times that participating Eastview alumni will be visiting home from University/College.

Cost Breakdown Estimate

  • $1150 (USD $860) for the production company DCINY (Distinguished Concerts International New York), which includes the workshops, rehearsals, the opportunity to perform, and a post-concert reception. Quite high! More on this below.
  • $200 for the bus
  • $150 for the hotel
  • $400 for the travel company – also a high proportion of the fee. While it is possible to travel without the use of a travel company, their expertise would be invaluable in the event of the unexpected and I believe would give everybody added peace of mind.
  • $100 miscellaneous
  • Health insurance will also be required for those without existing coverage, and cancellation insurance will be offered as an option.

The Experience and the Company

I realize this is a large financial commitment, and families will want to be confident they are receiving value for their investment. The portion of the cost going to DCINY will undoubtedly be concerning to some.

DCINY is a well-established and reputable company, whose aim is to provide intermediate and advanced level amateur choirs opportunities that are normally reserved for a privileged few. They work with industry leaders, including regular collaborations with composers such as Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjielo, to produce top quality performances with the visiting choirs and a professional orchestra. It truly is an honour for us to receive this invitation, as the company has a strong reputation of excellence to uphold. Other local choirs who have accepted such invitations from DCINY include the University of Toronto choral ensembles, the Toronto Youth Choir, and the Durham regional arts high school “O’Niell CVI”. As a young singer, I personally was fortunate enough to participate in a few similar performances, and the musical experience of being a small part of something that grand is incomparable.

The funds being directed towards DCINY go towards hiring an orchestra, soloists and clinicians, renting a world class concert venue, and the expenses associated with running a profitable business in Manhattan. While I’m unaware of their profit margin, what they charge will be reflective of supply and demand. It is certainly a premium musical experience for a premium price.

Next Steps

If you have any interest taking part in this, please let me know the following information by email, phone message or otherwise by Thursday, February 20:

  • How confident you are that you’ll be a “yes”, keeping in mind that a final decision and financial commitment will need to be made by mid-March.  For example: “80% sure”.
  • If there are any factors that your participation might be conditional on.

If I’m reasonably confident by this date that we will have at least 25 Eastview singers on board, we will move forward with planning.

Feel free to get in touch with any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them as quickly and as accurately as possible.

Sincerely.

Dave Stewart
Eastview Choir Director

Email: dcstewart@nullscdsb.on.ca

Office Phone: 705-728-1321 x40903

Direct to Voicemail: 705-728-1321 x57724

Welcome to Semester 2

While we had a fairly lengthy hiatus, we are back in action and regular rehearsals are currently running. Members NOT planning to return to the choir for semester 2 should see me to return their music, at which point I will remove them from this mailing list. I do hope everyone decides to stick with it, however, as I’m hopeful we’ll be able to use the spring to make up for some of the lost opportunities from the Christmas season.

Upcoming Performances

  • Collier Street United Church – I’m still hoping we can reschedule this concert when the political situation improves, although the chosen music may change to be more reflective of the season! I’m going to give it another month at least before making an official decision to cancel. Pre-purchased tickets will be refunded if we cancel.
  • CHAMBER CHOIR ONLY – KW Kiwanis Music Festival – April 16 or 17 – I’ll provide more details when the festival schedule is made available on March 1.
  • Barrie Music Festival – Wed, April 29 – This will be a half day field trip, at no extra cost. Details to come as scheduling information becomes available.
  • Gala – ESS Cafetorium – Thurs, May 7 – Our final show, featuring popular music of the 21st century.

Uniforms

The new uniforms have arrived and will be distributed prior to our next performance. Details are as follows:

GIRLS:

  • Provided by us: long red skirt
  • Provided by you: black button-down shirt/blouse, black nylons, black dress shoes
  • Notes: Returning choir members can use their shirts from previous years if they choose. I have a few extras up for grabs for anybody who needs one. Dress shoes can be heals or flats, but please take comfort into consideration for long periods of standing.

BOYS:

  • Provided by us: red tie
  • Provided by you: black button-down shirt, black pants, black dress shoes
  • Notes: For those who do not already have a black shirt, please see me to see if I have one I can give you.

Gala Solos

The final Gala provides ample opportunity for solo performances for those who are interested. Application forms, which also contain more detailed information, are available from me and will be introduced at this week’s rehearsal. APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21.