Forget practice — Borah men's choir needs $68K to get to Carnegie Hall

broberts@idahostatesman.comOctober 24, 2013 

The 36-voice choir has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall.

BILL ROBERTS — broberts@idahostatesman.com

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    Tactus will hold a yard sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Albertsons store at the corner of Vista Avenue and Overland Road to raise money for the trip to New York.

In January, Andrew Terrell expects to step on stage at Carnegie Hall with 35 other members of the Borah High School group.

He can't believe it.

"I always dreamt of this since I was a little kid," he said.

The men's choir is called Tactus — Latin for a steady beat — and was invited to join eight other choirs in a tribute to liberty on the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Borah's is one of just three high school choirs invited to perform.

The group's route to Carnegie Hall began two years ago, when the Borah choir visited the University of California, Berkeley campus and met Matt Oltman, who was filling in for an instructor on sabbatical. He put together an impromptu workshop for the singers and was impressed by what he heard.

"The singers don't wait to be told what to do," Oltman said. "They grow and develop."

Two years later, Oltman was working with DistinguishedConcerts International New York, an organization that does choral education and performance. He was asked to put together a performance and direct it.

Someone brought him a YouTube video of Tactus. "I remembered when they came to California," he said.

The invitation went out.

Now comes the tough part.

The choir must raise the money to pay for the trip. Since school began, it has raised nearly $20,000 in donations and pledges. "Every kid has to come up with $300 on their own," said Cathy Yoder, one of the choir moms helping organize activities.

"They are selling cinnamon rolls, baking and working with their moms," she said. Others are doing yard work.

In November, the choir is putting on a dinner performance at Borah. During the meals, choir members will be the waiters. Then they will get on stage.

At Carnegie Hall, Tactus will perform musical works with words from Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Heather Prinzing, the choir director, said, "I hope it sparks in these kids that they can be lifelong musicians."

It certainly will make memories. "Something I can share with my kids," said Stephen Gagnon, a Borah senior.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

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