Jericho’s Noteworthy Performs at Carnegie Hall
Written by SAM NEWMAN
Pictures by GIULIA MILANA and GREGORY CHESTLER
On January 24, 2014, Jericho High School’s own A Cappella group, Noteworthy, performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall as a part of “China Meets America’s” annual cultural festival. Noteworthy’s ten members, with a mix of nerves and excitement, could not have been more enthusiastic about their performance and the impending check on their bucket lists.
“Was it a bucket-lister? Of course! Who doesn’t want to perform at Carnegie Hall?” said junior Gregory Chestler, member of Noteworthy for three years and current leader of the singing group. Chestler heard about the opportunity back in November from music theory teacher, Mr. Roselli. “He told me that there was an event going on at Carnegie Hall for small ensembles, and if anyone was interested to let him know. So I let him know and he gave me a woman’s email and I began emailing her. She informed me that we had missed the submission deadline. Obviously upset, I said ‘Well if there anything we could do to let me know.’ She allowed us to send in a submission video and then on Christmas she emailed me and said that we could perform. It was the best Christmas present!”
“China Meets America” is an international organization with branches all around the world merging Chinese culture with countries such as Germany and Australia. It “aims to enhance the exchange of cultures, to bridge the understanding and friendship between the two great nations, and to help and support
the young generation in approaching, communicating and co-operating with each other through cultural exploration.” The annual festival, which was held this year during the week of January 18th, takes place throughout New York City and provides the opportunity for Chinese and American students alike to gain exposure to famous American conductors and musicians, improving the musical and educational exchange between cultures.
“Everything building up to the performance was insane. I actually have stage fright to the point where I actually forget the words to a song sometimes, but this time I just tried to take it all in and really enjoy it,” said junior Cassandra Heah, a member of Noteworthy who was featured with a solo during the performance. “It was such an honor to perform on that stage.”
The shock of actually being in Carnegie Hall consumed the group said senior Imani Sewell. “Every five minutes, one of us would say, ‘Guys…we’re in Carnegie Hall.’” Sewell noted that the group rehearses
rigorously for two to three hours a week, working on songs, choreography, and harmonies. Chestler added, “A lot of rehearsing goes into it. We take rehearsing very seriously but we always remember to have fun.”
“I was actually more nervous for our dress rehearsal because the people at the dress rehearsal were the ones who organized the event and I didn’t want them to think we were bad. Because we were the only A Cappella group performing,” noted Chestler. The group left school early Friday afternoon for a dress rehearsal at Carnegie Hall in front of the festival organizers. “After we left the stage everyone was telling us how great we did. That was my favorite part besides performing, knowing that we weren’t a letdown.”
“As a whole, before we went on, the group did vocal exercises and relaxation exercises to calm our nerves,” said senior Nina Glodstein. “Personally, I was not nervous because we were very prepared and excited.”
“We got to meet some of the other performers from the Beijing orchestra as well as the New York Jazz Academy,” said junior Bianca Benayoun, who joined the group at the beginning of this year. “We also got to talk to the hosts who were famous Chinese TV stars and Sara Barsky.”
Jericho High School alumnus Sara Barsky hosted the Carnegie Hall event.
The group’s performance was also broadcasted live to China since two performers in the show were famous Chinese television actors. Cassandra Heah recalled meeting the celebrities, “They asked if we were famous in the US because some of the people there were famous in China and we were like, ‘No.’”
“Carnegie Hall is a magical place,” Chestler said. “I would do it with the exact same people every day for the rest of my life if I could. It brought us closer together than ever before. I will never forget that day. Everyone really felt the magic.”
Noteworthy takes back to Jericho High School the awards for Most Beautiful Voice and Best Art Troupe as well as memories that will last a lifetime.