Burlingame-San Mateo combined choirs perform at Carnegie Hall

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Burlingame-San Mateo combined choirs perform at Carnegie Hall

BHS-SMHS Choir performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

BHS-SMHS Choir performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

BHS-SMHS Choir performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

BHS-SMHS Choir performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

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The Burlingame and San Mateo combined choirs recently traveled to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall.

Departing San Francisco at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 28, the choir group arrived at Newark in the evening and then braved New York rush hour traffic to get to their hotel in Manhattan.

To prepare for the performance, the choir rehearsed long hours in the hotel ballroom.

The worst was the six hours of rehearsal we had the day before we performed,” senior Abigail Nix said.

But the group took breaks by exploring the city, riding the subway and making stops at the Rockefeller Center, the 9/11 Memorial, Times Square and even watching the Broadway musical “The Band’s Visit.”

“I liked this tour better than the one last year [to Disneyland] and the one two years ago [to Universal Studios] because there was so much more that we could do other than singing,” Nix said. “We also got some free time to explore the blocks around out hotel, so we did some shopping there and got food at places nearby.”

Then on Sunday night, clad in black tuxedos and dresses, the choir walked onto the stage at Carnegie Hall.

“The conductor, Edith A. Copley, was very enthusiastic and I think that she got a great sound and a lot of energy out of us,” senior Ryan Cheng said. “The energy was definitely there. I left the performance feeling really excited and happy for having performed in Carnegie Hall.”

Despite performing in front of a large audience in a prestigious venue, the choir reported only some nervousness.

“I think few people were nervous,” sophomore Kate Mitchell said. “It was a big event, given the size of Carnegie Hall, and the audience was a little intimidating at first.”

But as the singing started, feelings of nervousness were washed over by music.

“More than anything, I think we were all just excited to perform in such a beautiful place,” Nix said.

Senior Suzanna Longworth checked off an item in her bucket list when she sang a solo in the performance.

“It has been my dream to sing there since I started singing as a kid,” Longworth said. “It was so wonderful getting to represent my school that way. I felt proud.”

Unlike previous years’ choir trips, the choir did not sing in a competition against other schools’ choirs.

“Usually, we compete with other choirs with songs that our conductor, Shawn Reifschneider, prepares specifically for our choir,” Cheng said. “For this year’s trip, we sang with another conductor and it was a joint performance with many other choirs. There were 388 singers in our performance.”

The Burlingame-San Mateo choir rehearsed and performed with their newfound friends from Wisconsin, Virginia, Texas, Mississippi and California.

[The trip] was definitely a different experience,” said Mitchell. “I had never been on a trip like that before and it helped me realize how much of a family the choir class is to each other.”

Exhausted from performing, exploring Manhattan and reportedly overdosing on pizza and pasta, the choir members travelled back to San Francisco Monday evening to enjoy the rest of their spring break.