Friday, February 10, 2017 11:55 AM
CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Cleveland State students Seth Bush and Christopher Kennedy were recently chosen to participate as finalists at the Young Adult Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall.
The Young Adult Series assembles some of the most talented college-aged and young adult vocalists to work with master conductors and perform on the world-renowned Ronald O. Perelman stage at Carnegie Hall. It challenges next-level musicians to further their skills, network with other talented musicians, work with renowned conductors and ultimately take part in an advanced Carnegie Hall performance. Finalists were from all 50 U.S. States, several provinces of Canada, Guam, Australia, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Singapore and South Korea.
“I am extremely proud of Christopher and Seth for accepting the nomination to audition for this inaugural Young Adult Honors Choir,” stated Karen Dale, Associate Professor of Music. “Not only are these young men talented musically, but both are members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and are leaders on the Cleveland State campus.”
As college freshmen, both had to learn art songs, folk songs and arias within two weeks and submit an audition recording and application. Following their acceptance, they learned the music for the concert and were ultimately able to perform and work with a master conductor in Carnegie Hall, attend an opera at the Met, interact with a panel of professional New York City musicians and take part in workshops led by Broadway cast members. Despite the fact that neither student had ever sung a solo prior to their auditions, they were both chosen as finalists.
Kennedy stated, “I didn’t really know what to think because I kept thinking of all of the people that I went to high school with that were majoring in music, and here I was, not even a music major, but I was standing on the stage at Carnegie Hall! It honestly doesn’t even feel real. I feel like I’m going to wake up one day and realize this didn’t happen.”
Bush said, “There is no feeling in the world like standing on Carnegie Hall stage. Even just for the sound check! There are no words. It was phenomenal. The acoustics were amazing.”
Both students credit Dale for encouraging them to audition, and Kennedy is even considering changing his major to Music after this experience.
“I wouldn’t have been able to perform on Carnegie Hall without Mrs. Karen Dale—that’s for sure,” stated Bush. “She is wonderful.”
Kennedy agreed. “If there were more teachers like her, kids would enjoy music and school more!”
During the final performance, the students sang five songs under the direction of Dr. Jeffery Redding, the conductor for the Young Adult Honors Performance Series. Redding is past Director of Choral Activities at West Virginia University and currently serves as Director of Choral Activities at West Orange High School in Florida. Redding has conducted several divisional and national ACDA National Honor Choirs, as well as All-State and Honor choirs in more than 25 states. He holds a Ph.D. in Choral Conducting/Music Education and an M.M.E., both from Florida State University, and a B.S. in Music Education from Florida A&M University.
Kennedy said, “I guess what really pushed me to work extremely hard was all of my music teachers. Even though I didn’t necessarily like music in high school, my teachers were absolutely fantastic. Mr. Hunt, Mr. Benton, Mr. Burris, my band directors at Walker Valley, and Miss Oran, my choir teacher, along with Mrs. Dale, were all so great. Without the five of them, there is absolutely no way I would have had the opportunity to have been able to do this.”