“If you get the chance to perform at Carnegie Hall, do!” says Eric Whitacre from the stage of the Stern Auditorium.
The rallying cry has certainly worked on the scores of young people filing onto the stage who —for several hundred dollars a head— get to join Mr Whitacre for the evening. High School concert mentality takes over in the hall as parents jostle each other for photographic positions, shout their children’s names and lose patience with each other as said photos are obscured.
When the music does begin, it’s Eric’s Hollywood arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner: a useful control in this choral experiment as it’s a tune we all know. The top end of the voices floats dream-like in the way that only young voices can, although the young men of the lower-register (outnumbered around 5:1 by the women) lack the vocal maturity to ground the arrangement. Whitacre points the audience towards the printed text of The City and the Sea which is useful given the clarity of diction is lost in such large forces and regales us with the tale of composing by making his hands into various shapes and moving them around the keyboard until something sounds right.
DCINY give young people the chance to perform in remarkable venues like Carnegie Hall, parents the chance to cheer their kids on and composers (like Mr Whitacre) the chance to feature some of their lesser-known works in a sympathetic environment. It’s an arrangement that everyone seems very happy with and one you can learn more about at DCINY.org if you’re that way inclined.