Young women’s choir prepares for Carnegie Hall performance

Many performers work their whole lives to make it to Carnegie Hall but Dolcissima, a local young women’s choir, is taking the direct route.

The choir will perform at the famed institution with one of three treble ensembles on Saturday, May 26 as part of the MidAmerica Children’s Choir Festival.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these girls to perform with a professional orchestra and a living composer,” says Ann MacDonald, the choir’s director.

Dolcissima will join choirs from California and Michigan to perform Stephen Paulus’ “Songs of Meditation.” The choir will be accompanied by the New England Symphonic Ensemble and led by Michigan State University music professor and nationally recognized conductor, Sandra Snow.

The community will have a chance to hear Dolcissima tonight at 7:30 at the First Congregational Church United Church of Christ.

Last fall, MacDonald auditioned young women ages 14 to 22 and formed the final group of 12 based on their talent and character.

“Our choir is not just about making music,” she says. “Music is just the vehicle for really learning about life.”MacDonald says the young women have learned how to work in a group toward a common goal and have become more mature in the process.

The group will leave for New York Wednesday and will return on Sunday. While there, the choir will have four hours of daily practice leading up to the show but will plan to see “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Dolcissima alto and Bellingham High School freshman, Ashley Hanson, 15, says to prepare for the performance, the choir has been squeezing in extra practices and fundraising for the trip.

“We’re all getting really excited,” Hanson says. “It’s something we’ve all been dreaming about all year long.”The choir is part of the Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth program, which recently staged “Peter Pan” at Mount Baker Theatre.

“I just think it’s remarkable that in their first year of existence they have achieved this level of artistry,” says David Post, artistic director for the academy. “That’s a testament to the positive attitude and commitment of the singers and the dedication of their conductor.”

Dolcissima will have its final spring concert June 8. For more information, call 306-1543 or go to www.baay.org.