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Volume 24, Number 5 — May 2017

Highlands Youth Ensemble Performs at Carnegie Hall

 From left: Highlands Youth Ensemble (HYE) Director Jane Morison, HYE senior Joshua O'Bryan from Piney Flats, Tenn., and Joshua's mother Laura enjoy a post-concert dinner cruise in New York City.
From left: Highlands Youth Ensemble (HYE) Director Jane Morison, HYE senior Joshua O'Bryan from Piney Flats, Tenn., and Joshua's mother Laura enjoy a post-concert dinner cruise in New York City.
Additional photos below »

July 12, 2010

The Highlands Youth Ensemble (HYE) performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Sunday, June 27, 2010. The ensemble is a mixed choral group of area high school students members from Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

The mass chorale performance of John Rutter's Requiem was directed by the renowned English composer himself. More than 20 of the HYE members made this trip, joining other choirs from around the U.S. on stage.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our singers," said HYE director Jane DeLoach Morison. "Carnegie Hall represents a pinnacle of achievement for musicians, and performing under the baton of John Rutter is an extraordinary honor. The music was beautiful, and our students dedicated themselves to the effort of learning it. In fact, we performed Requiem locally three times in its entirety before going to New York."

Senior Joshua O'Bryan of Piney Flats, Tenn., who has been an HYE member for three years, described the Carnegie performance as "life-changing...The experience of training under someone so profound as John Rutter, and then to actually perform on the historical stage of Carnegie Hall with him directing, was an experience that can never be matched," he said.

During their New York stay, HYE members visited landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. They also enjoyed Broadway plays and a dinner cruise.

The Highlands Youth Ensemble is part of the Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy (MECCA). HYE is an audition-only group that primarily performs a cappella repertoire in four-part (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) harmony.

The ensemble has performed at numerous churches in the Tri-Cities area, at Bristol's Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival, at Music on the Square in Jonesborough, at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, and for Christmas candlelight tours at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. In May of 2007, HYE traveled to Hungary to sing in the 20th International Chamber Choir Competition.

For more information, including upcoming audition dates, see the MECCA website at www.meccacademy.org or email director@meccacademy.org.




HYE members, under the direction of Jane Morison (in blue), wait for their cue to join the renowned John Rutter in a performance at Carnegie Hall.


Several HYE students take a moment to pose with "Miss Liberty."