Big Canoe Chapel Men’s Chorus goes to Carnegie Hall.
Chapel’s Men’s Chorus performs in Carnegie Hall
By Bennett Whipple
Singing in Carnegie Hall probably was not on their bucket lists, but members of Big Canoe Chapel’s Men’s Chorus checked it off anyway. And rightly so, for it is a crowning achievement for any performing group.
The chorus performed there on Sunday, February 19, to an SRO crowd in a program called “The Glory of Freedom” to honor our veterans. It concluded with Randal Thompson’s “The Testament of Freedom” sung by the male choral groups and accompanied by the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
Darryl Anderson, the group’s leading bass, called it “an opportunity of a life time,” and added that they were “thrilled down to their bones” with the magnificence of the choral and orchestral sounds from this premier venue.
The Chorus was selected to sing in the Carnegie event by a tape audition submitted last year by the group’s leader, Lamar Helms, associate chaplain and music director for Big Canoe Chapel.
There were some 20 men’s groups performing with the Chapel’s chorus, including such names as the Metropolitan Men’s Choir, West Point Alumni Glee Club, and Richmond Symphony Chorus, to name a few.
Founded in 1994, the Men’s Chorus has sung for Chapel services for 22 years, with Helms directing the group since 1996. Trained on the piano and organ from an early age, Helms attended North Carolina Governor’s School and is a graduate of Wake Forest and received his Master’s of Divinity from Southern Theological Seminary.
Janet Larsen is the group’s pianist and rehearsed with them during their months of preparation for the event.