For 19 members of Clarksville Middle School’s chamber choir, school is not officially over.
The group, under the direction of Elizabeth Ringenberg, the chorus and music teacher, is traveling to New York City today for five days and four nights to perform as part of the Distinguished Concerts Singers International choir at Carnegie Hall on June 24.
“The Clarksville Middle School Choir received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers as well as the high quality of their audition recording,” said Jonathan Griffith, artistic director and principal conductor for Distinguished Concerts International New York in a statement.
“We had posted a video,” Ringenberg said. “They contacted me and asked if we were interested in singing at Carnegie Hall.”
Members of the chamber choir auditioned for their positions in the group, which typically performs more advanced music, Ringenberg said. The 24-member group performs at all the vocal concerts at the school and occasionally other venues.
For the Carnegie Hall concert, the members will join other choirs to form the Distinguished Concerts Singers International choir. Together, the group will perform four pieces, including the world premiere of “Liminality” by Francisco J. Núñez, the artistic director of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City.
“They’ve had to work very, very hard on this music,” Ringenberg said. “This is college-level music.”
Three of the pieces, “Forever Is My Song,” “Naturaleza” and “Es Tu Tiempo,” have recordings that help guide the choir. There are no recordings, however, of the world-premiere piece to study.
“The instrumentation we can’t hear,” Ringenberg said. “We can’t wait to hear it with everyone altogether.”
While the choir will have daily rehearsals until the performance, there will also be time to explore New York City.
“We voted on what to do,” Ringenberg said. “We’ll go to the wax museum. The Empire State building. There will be good meals, too.”
The performance will be Ringenberg’s “swan song” as she will not be returning to Clarksville Middle School after 13 years. As a mother of young children, Ringenberg took a teaching position closer to her home in Washington, D.C.
“It was a very tough decision,” Ringenberg said. “I have been commuting from D.C. the last seven years. It’s an amazing school with lots of talent.”