TALLMADGE — Residents don't have to travel to Carnegie Hall to hear holiday music.
The Tallmadge Lutheran Church Chancel Choir wants to share their experience of performing at Carnegie Hall by inviting the public to hear it perform selections from "Sing Christmas" Dec. 15 at the 8 a.m. and 10:30 am. worship services at 759 East Ave.
Bryon Black II is the conductor with assistant conductor Jenna Wolff and pianist Sadie Fellows.
"The cantata follows the significant activities of the nativity and Christ’s story which paved the way for salvation and the Christian experience," Black said.
Black has been director of music since June 2015 and has a master’s degree in music choral directing from Kent State University. He works at KSU as an adjunct professor in the choral department.
The church raised money the last 10 months through various fundraisers to send 18 chancel choir members to join a mass choir of 275 choristers from around the country to perform "Sing Christmas" composed and arranged by Mary McDonald and Joel Raney in November on the Carnegie Hall stage.
"The public is invited and we want to re-create as much of the experience as possible," Black said. "We'll perform many of the selections from the concert."
The Tallmadge Lutheran Church Chancel Choir was the only group from Ohio and represented the community, state and faith, Black said.
"They invited us back any time," Black said. "They were happy to have us there. It was nice to be well received.
"Joel and Mary pulled excellent music out of us," Black added. "It elevated the experience. You feel and connect with them being on stage in front of them."
The group traveled by charter bus and spent a couple days in rehearsals before the Sunday evening concert on Nov. 17.
"Each day we explored New York and did sightseeing," Black said. "We walked to Carnegie Hall to see the building. We saw the street sign poster and our name on it. That set the tone and got us excited to do it."
Some choir members saw Broadway shows while in town and others visited sights. They saw the tree lighting at the Rockefeller Center during their visit.
"After the first rehearsal, our Tallmadge choir felt well prepared musically," Black said. "They put a lot of work into it before going to New York."
Sandee Mick of Cuyahoga Falls was one of the members of the choir. It was her first time visiting New York City and she spent time visiting the sights.
"It was the most amazing experience of my life, but the highlight of the trip was to sing an original composition with the composer conducting it with 275 other Christian singers and to have the orchestra and to be in Carnegie Hall," Mick said.
Mick, an Alto 1 singer, was mixed in with strangers singing the same part, but two of the Tallmadge choir members were nearby.
"Because of Bryan Black, it was easy," Mick said. "We could have led many of the people around us because he had us so well prepared. What he brings out of a volunteer choir is fabulous."
Mick said the choir wants to keep singing the music and looks forward to the Dec. 15 local performance.
"Come. It will be a fabulous way to start the Christmas season and we're singing about the reason for the season," Mick said.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org