"Preparing All Students to Succeed"

Marvin Ridge choir performs at Carnegie Hall
Front Row L to R: Kevin Satterfiled, Breanna Moe, Renee Russo, Rachael Broom, Christine Rardin, Madison Dill, Madeleine Cutrone, Katherine Judge, Stefania Crovesi; Back Row L to R: Brianna Harrington, Christian Smith, Katherine Rowland, Jordan Hodges, Emily McFadden, Starr Peterson, Jeremy Jones, Deborah Lutz, Choir Director

(The following story ran in the April 8th edition of the Enquirer Journal and was written by EJ Reporter, Tiffany Jothen.)

Tchaikovsky, Count Basie and Marvin Ridge High.

Carnegie Hall opened in 1891. Since then, the legendary music hall has hosted musical greats from Russian composer Tchaikovsky to jazz musician Count Basie and rock sensation The Beatles. Sixteen Marvin Ridge students joined the list last weekend for the National Youth Choir Festival.

“It’s nothing like the high school auditorium,” sophomore Maddie Cutrone said.

Last year, the women’s ensemble attended the Heritage Festival in Williamsburg, Va. They won some awards and landed a spot in the Carnegie Hall performance. Three students from the men’s ensemble joined them for a performance alongside 740 other students from the United States and Canada.

Senior Kevin Satterfield particularly enjoyed rubbing elbows with so many people who share the same affection for music. Satterfield plans to study international relations in college, but hopes to keep singing.

“The majority of the music we learn here is in different languages,” senior Rachel Broom said. “It really expands your outlook to different cultures and different sounds.”

Students sang under director Eph Ehly, a retired college professor and revered conductor. They sang six songs from gospel to a Czechoslavokian folk song.

Cutrone plans to be a music teacher after high school and called choral arts teacher Debby Lutz her inspiration.

Lutz watched her students onstage at Carnegie Hall where some of the most famous musicians “have brought music to life,” she said.

Students rehearsed three times a week after school to prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for their debut.

Lutz also sees her students gain confidence through music. One student used to be anxious about coming to school, but stood in front of thousands of people last weekend to lift her voice.

Cutrone called singing addicting, but in a good way.

“Once you start, you can’t stop,” she said. “You just kind of get hooked on it. You can let it all out, whatever it is. It can be happy, it can be sad. ... It’s freeing.”

Students had a chance to share their visit with a larger audience as they passed by the Rockefeller Center where the “Today” show is filmed.

“We stood behind the window and tried to get on TV,” Broom said.

Students held up a small sign advertising their performance.

Where do they go from here?

The absolute highest honor would be an invitation to perform at the American Choral Directors Association’s national conference, Lutz said.

Read more: The Enquirer Journal - Marvin Ridge choir performs at Carnegie Hall

Written by: Tiffany Jothen, Enquirer Journal Reporter
Posted Apr 15, 2011 by Don Mace