New York shines bright for two Bainbridge singers

Published 6:45 pm Friday, July 24, 2015

Karli Willis, left, and Piper Loeffler, appear in concert with the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall.

Karli Willis, left, and Piper Loeffler, appear in concert with the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall.

It was a dream come true for two former Hutto Middle School students, Piper Loeffler and Karli Willis, who made it to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall the last week of June.

The two girls were nominated by their choral teacher Ms. Laura Bowen, earlier in the year and went through an application process that included submitting recordings of their singing.

They were two of four students from Georgia chosen to perform with approximately 160 vocalists, boys and girls, from across the United States, Brazil and Canada in the Honors Performance Series Choir.

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They spent five days in the Big Apple in a 5-Star hotel and attended six-to-eight hour daily rehearsals in preparation of the final concert given in the historic world-renowned Carnegie Hall.

The girls received the repertoire of music during the month of May, giving them a month to prepare and memorize the six vocal pieces. What they found hardest was the pronunciation of the songs that were in Latin and Spanish.

The girls were accompanied by family to the city, and were met at the airport by chaperones  – one to each group of 15 students. They accompanied the students everywhere they needed to be.

In their free time they did sightseeing, went to the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and attended “The King and I” Broadway show at Lincoln Center.

Asked for their general impression of New York, the girls answered “noisy and crowded,” adding that the hotel actually gave them earplugs so they could sleep at night.

They both had nothing but high praise for the experience of working with the director, Greg Gilpin, saying that he worked on all the little things such as accents and dynamics, all with good humor.

Piper stated the thing she will always remember is being in Carnegie Hall. “If I ever have anything more to do with music, I would want it to be there.” Karli said she will always remember the social aspects and the fun she had getting to know her roommates.

She added that singing on the stage of Carnegie Hall was not as nerve-wracking as she thought it would be. “It was so amazing to be up there.”

The choir members were required to wear appropriate black skirts or dress pants with white collared long sleeve shirts and blouses for the concert.

The program received high praise from Karli’s father, Tommy, who said the concert was wonderful. It included selections from composers Huddie W. Ledbetter, Joseph M. Martin, Orlando DiLasso, Jose Daniel-Zuniga, Victor Johnson and concluded with a composition by director Gilpin titled “Let Music Live.”

Melodee Loeffler, Piper’s mother, said she thought the experience has humbled all of them, just to know that our young people could go there and perform at the site where so many famous people have performed. They gained performance experience and expanded their love for singing.