Twenty-two members of the Perham High School choir sang in the Big Apple last week, including two planned performances at popular New York City landmarks as well as impromptu shows throughout the city.
Last week's trip was the third trip to New York City taken by Perham choir students in the last decade. Although the group received a $2,200 grant from the school district's 549 Foundation, each of the kids earned their own way through massive fundraising efforts over the last three years.
Teacher Kevin Kosiak said the trip went well. The highlight, as well as the purpose for the trip, was a grand performance at Carnegie Hall. There, Perham students merged their voices with nearly 150 other singers from high schools and colleges across the nation. After eight hours of rehearsal, the newly formed mass choir performed Franz Schubert's "Mass in G" to a crowd of 2,500, accompanied by a professional orchestra.
Perham Sophomore Olivia Nelson said, "Just the experience of singing with a big group of people from different states" was something she will always remember.
The other planned performance during the five-day excursion was held at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, which some students felt was the best part of the trip.
Sophomore Christian Bueng, for example, said it was the best part of the trip for him because, "it's the largest cathedral in the world and we got to sing in it."
Besides those peak performances, Perham students provided some impromptu entertainment as they toured the city. The group offered a quick number to passersby at Grand Central Station, and another one on a bridge in Central Park.
It turned out the kids weren't the only ones belting it out on New York City streets -- on the subway, a stranger unexpectedly serenaded the students as he strummed his guitar.
Besides singing, the group toured the city, trying to see as many of the sights as possible.
They went to Harlem to visit the Apollo Theater. They visited St. Patrick's Cathedral, the 9/11 Memorial and went to the top of the Rockefeller Center for a spectacular view of the city. They toured through Chinatown and Central Park and shopped Fifth Avenue and Times Square. They also caught the Broadway show, "Mystery of Edwin Drood."
The one complaint among teachers and students was the bitterly cold weather. A wind advisory harbored the ferry, forcing the group to cancel its planned tour of the Statue of Liberty.
But, other than that, the kids and the seven adult chaperones enjoyed their experience.
"It was awesome," Bueng said.