Livingstone Choir going to N.Y.

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

By Laurie Willis
Livingstone College
As a professional opera singer, Teresa Moore-Mitchell has performed throughout Europe and the United States.
Her outstanding vocal ability even landed her at Carnegie Hall in 2002, where she gave a solo performance.
Next spring, Moore-Mitchell is going back to Carnegie Hall, but this time she’ll be accompanied by the Livingstone College Concert Choir, which will make its debut performance at the renowned New York venue.
“I’m so excited for these students because I know the doors that these past opportunities have opened for me, participating at Carnegie Hall,” Moore-Mitchell said.
“I want them to go beyond the goals that I have reached. That’s why I’m at Livingstone. That’s my purpose. I want the students to exceed the goals I’ve achieved.”
Moore-Mitchell has twice performed at Carnegie Hall, first as a member of then-Pfeiffer College’s Concert Choir in 1989 and later while working in Greece for Peter Tiboris, CEO, general director and artistic director of MidAmerica Productions Inc., an independent producer of classical concerts at Carnegie Hall.Tiboris called Moore-Mitchell earlier this year to catch up and invite her to sing at Carnegie Hall, and that’s when he learned she’s now professor of voice at Livingstone College.
“He found out I was teaching at Livingstone and asked me about the choir here,” Moore-Mitchell said. “I was telling him how well the concert choir has been performing, how they’re doing and how impressed I am with the conductor, DaVaughn Miller. He said, ‘Well what do you think about them coming as well?’ I said I think that would be perfect.”
Many on campus are excited about the upcoming Carnegie Hall trip, particularly members of the concert choir, Moore-Mitchell, Miller and Joanne Harrison, campus organist who will accompany the group to New York.
Between now and late April when Livingstone College gives its debut performance, officials and students will be busy trying to raise $70,000 needed for the trip.
“The students’ fundraising efforts are performing,” Miller said. “We’re able to bring in more substantial amounts of money with our singing versus a car wash, per say. We’re currently accepting engagements in this region to help us get to Carnegie Hall.”
Of course, that’s not to say students won’t participate in some traditional fundraising to help them make it to New York. They’re also asking family members, friends, their churches and fraternity and sorority members for donations, Moore-Mitchell said.
Livingstone College alumni, members of the public, corporations and business people are also being solicited, Moore-Mitchell said.
She said when the students learned about the trip they were excited. But it’s likely the magnitude of it won’t really dawn on them until they’re in New York City or once they’ve returned to Salisbury.
Of course, Moore-Mitchell, Harrison and Miller already recognize it’s a huge deal.
“My initial reaction was excitement,” said Miller, who has a bachelor’s degree in ethnomusicology from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., a master’s degree in music education, with an emphasis in choral conducting, from Appalachian State University, and who is finishing an Ed.D. in music and music education from Columbia University.
“I recognize the enormity of this engagement and am quite enthused about what possibilities will open up for Livingstone because of it.”
At Carnegie Hall, students will sing for 30 minutes, followed by a performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria.” Also on stage that night will be a college choir from Canada, Miller said.
The students are rehearsing for 90 minutes, four times a week.
“Rehearsals have been different than the past two or three years considering the volume of music we have to prepare with the Carnegie engagement now on our plate,” Miller said, “but the students are excited, and they’ve expressed their willingness to work extremely hard to pull off a fantastic performance.”
Moore-Mitchell, who first performed publicly at 8, singing “Going Up Yonder” at her great-grandmother’s funeral, said she sees the Carnegie Hall trip as a means to help take Livingstone College to the next level, a slogan found on signs around campus.
Moore-Mitchell joined Livingstone’s faculty this spring but has been teaching voice in higher education since 1997. She has also taught at her alma mater, Pfeiffer University, and Winston-Salem State University.
“What’s significant about this performance, too, is because I’m performing with the students, they’ll see that our careers aren’t over just because we reach a higher age, but instead we perform at higher levels,” she said. “I make sure I tell my students that just because they plan to teach as a career, that doesn’t mean they won’t get to perform. During the summers and on weekends, I’m still performing.”
Livingstone College officials are excited about the trip, a first of its kind for the institution.
“That our concert choir has been extended an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall speaks volumes about the direction Livingstone College continues to head under President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, and it’s also a fitting tribute to our choir, DaVaughn Miller, Teresa Moore-Mitchell and Joanne Harrison,” said State Alexander, executive assistant to the president/public relations director. “I know there’s an effort under way to have as many alumni as can make the trip to New York to support our students. It will be a historic night for Livingstone College, and we’re proud to be a part of such an auspicious event.”
Want to support Livingstone College’s Concert Choir?
Please make checks or money orders payable to: Livingstone College Concert Choir, Attention Dr. Herman J. Felton Jr., Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Livingstone College, 701 W. Monroe St., Salisbury, NC 28144
It is imperative to write Carnegie Hall 2010 on all checks and money orders.
For more information regarding the trip, please call Teresa Moore-Mitchell at 704- 798-7085.