HELENA — In May, about 30 Helena High School choir students are set to travel to New York City, where they have been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall.
“We didn’t really see it coming,” said choir teacher Molly Steele. “We take some trips – just locally, or we go to Spokane, we’ve gone to Portland – but we’ve never done something this exciting.”
“I got very excited,” said senior Sara Betz. “I was like, ‘Wow, Carnegie Hall, that’s like, once-in-a-lifetime, don’t get to do that ever again.’”
They’ll take part in a performance by singer and composer Moira Smiley. Steele said Smiley has worked on and off with local choir students for about six years.
The Helena students will join other choirs from around the country, but they will also have a featured role. Last year, Smiley composed a piece called “Headwaters,” specifically for the choir and inspired by Montana.
“She already knew she was doing this project at Carnegie Hall, and she called and said that she would love to have us there and would love to feature this work on the big stage,” Steele said.
In addition to their performance, Steele said the choir hopes to take part in a Broadway classroom workshop and other activities during their trip.
The students are currently seeking to raise money to offset some of the costs of the trip.
“Just to sing on the stage is $790 a student, and that’s just the Carnegie Hall costs, not including airfare, hotels and all the other stuff that we hope to do,” said Steele.
They will be organizing a gala dinner and fundraiser Nov. 2 at the Helena Regional Airport. The choir will be performing during the event.
“I’m looking forward to the fact that we get to showcase our talents while we do our fundraising,” Betz said. “We’re going to be serving the food at the gala and getting to know the people. I think it’s very important that we get to know the people that are helping us go to New York.”
Tickets are $40 per person and $75 for a couple and are available here .
Steele said she’s excited her students will have this opportunity.
“A lot of our kids haven’t left the state – some of them haven’t left the town – so it’s huge for our students to get to go to a new state and across the country and be a part of this,” she said.