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Pingree School to Carnegie Hall

For many performers, the ultimate dream is to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. For four talented Pingree vocalists, that dream came true. Grace O’Meara ’20, Catherine Card ’21, Niccie Jamitkowski ’21, and Megan Onello ’21 were selected as part of the Honors Performance Series and traveled to New York in late January to perform in the treble choir (Grace, Catherine, Niccie) and concert choir (Megan). The singers were four of 600 selected vocal and instrumental performers out of 14,000 auditions. 

Ahead of their travel, they said they were excited about the prospects and held some anticipation as to what to expect. They still hadn’t processed the idea that they would actually be singing in Carnegie Hall. The conversation was full of nervous laughter and eager smiles.

After returning home, though, the change in the singers’ demeanor was apparent—each seemed more composed, more confident, and clearly still riding high on a cloud of euphoria. They enthusiastically described how enjoyable it was to meet singers from across the country and to see how music brought them all together. Rehearsals were daunting, lasting seven to eight hours so that the large groups of singers could find a cohesive sound ahead of the performance. The value of putting in long hours of hard work; singing to inspire, not to impress; being a part of something bigger than oneself; and finding the same feeling of being a team member in a different venue were all notable takeaways. A violinist herself, Megan’s mother Jennifer dreamed of playing at Carnegie Hall. Megan said they shared an emotional moment of dreams fulfilled across generations.

When asked for what advice they would give to vocalists who hope to pursue the same avenue, Catherine immediately responded, “find someone like Mr. Thom.” Thom Smoker, Pingree’s choral music teacher, nominated each of the students for the program. The singers agreed that his encouragement to move outside their comfort zones was instrumental in their ability to participate in the program and his faith in them gave them the confidence to go for it.

For Catherine, Niccie, and Megan, the next step in the Series is performing at the Wiener Musikverein in Vienna, Austria this coming summer. Grace, on the other hand, is heading to Bucknell in the fall, where she hopes to continue singing. All four singers are part of Pingree Theater’s winter musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, opening the last weekend of February.