Licking County News

Licking Heights High School

Choir readies for Big Apple show


Licking Heights High School senior Megan Loth is thrilled her grandfather will see her perform at New York City's famous Carnegie Hall on the same stage where he performed years ago.

"I'm the second generation to perform there," she said. "I'm very excited."

Loth and the Licking Heights advanced choir students will join Bishop Watterson High School's advanced choir to perform April 7 at the historic venue with world-renowned British choral composer John Rutter.

"It's going to be a wonderful experience for them," said Meredith Smith, director of both Licking Heights' and Bishop Watterson's advanced choirs.

Smith took Watterson students to Carnegie Hall in 2002 to work with Rutter, as well.

She said a few of her Licking Heights students plan to pursue music as a career, but regardless, the April trip will be an opportunity for each choir member to make a lifelong memory.

Smith said the choir rehearses for hours on Saturdays in addition to practicing regularly during the week, and each vocalist rehearses privately at home.

Smith said the long hours don't bother her.

"I love it," she said.

Smith said students must rehearse a long time before they are ready to work with Rutter.

"He works with professionals all the time," she said.

She said the Licking Heights and Watterson choirs must sound and act professional.

Once they meet Rutter, the students will rehearse with him for four to seven hours to prepare for the show.

Smith said the students will perform 12 numbers during the first half of the concert.

"They'll have a chance to see how the professional (music) world works," she said.

Smith said each of the 30 Licking Heights advanced choral students must raise $1,750 to participate.

"That's a lot to ask from anybody," she said.

But the students are rising to the occasion by organizing fundraisers, such as one held Feb. 13, which Loth estimated raised $2,000.

Smith said the students will visit New York City April 3-8, and will have opportunities to enjoy what it has to offer, including attending an opera and a Broadway show.

"It's going to be a busy, busy trip," Smith said.

This will be the first time Licking Heights choral students have performed at Carnegie Hall, and Smith is optimistic it won't be the last.

"If they go and perform well, they should have the opportunity (to return) in the future," she said. "But there's never a guarantee."

Loth admits to some butterflies.

"Part of me is nervous," Loth said, adding that she doesn't know what it will be like to work with Rutter.

But, she said, she and the other advanced choir students have worked as hard as they could.

"I think we're all ready for it," Loth said.