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318 869-5120

318 841-7266


Contact: Dr. Julia B. Thorn, Director, Centenary Camerata, 318-869-5175, or Kelsey Johnson, Centenary News Service, 318-841-7265

Centenary Camerata Invited to Sing at Carnegie Hall

SHREVEPORT, LA — "Very few choirs are invited to present solo performances in one of the most prestigious concert venues in the world, so this is a tremendous honor," says Dr. Julia Thorn, conductor of the Centenary Camerata, commenting on the group's recent invitation to sing at Carnegie Hall in February. Camerata will join other invited choirs and the New York City Chamber Orchestra to perform Francis Poulenc's Gloria under the direction of renowned conductor Paul Oakley as a part of Carnegie's elite Masterworks Series.

The 55-voice Hurley School of Music ensemble received the invitation from Manhattan Concert Productions (MCP) at the recommendation of Thorn's longtime friend Oakley, with whom she reconnected at this year's Louisiana All-State Choir meeting in Monroe.

After a weekend of working together, Oakley gave Thorn an informal invitation to share the podium with him at Carnegie Hall. Later, Thorn received a letter from the executive director at MCP formally extending the invitation. After submitting a CD sampler, Camerata was selected to not only join the mass choir for Gloria, but also have a solo performance as a part of the Debut Series during the festival weekend.

"Camerata definitely deserves this mark of distinction," says Thorn. "The students' musicianship and choral skills have earned them this privilege, and we're thrilled."

Thorn, her students and faculty pianist Gay Grosz will be in New York Feb. 15 through Feb. 19. The students will rehearse a minimum of four-hour blocks daily but will have some free time to explore the city. They will perform Sunday evening and afterwards enjoy a dinner and dancing cruise around Manhattan courtesy of MCP.

"The students are excited about this opportunity, so they're willing and motivated to work hard to get there," Thorn says. "We need Camerata alumni and all of the regular concert attendees to rally support in order to make this once-in-a-lifetime experience happen."

In total, Thorn expects the cost of transportation, lodging and food to total about $82,000. That's $1,500 per person.

To raise funds for the trip, Camerata will be selling tickets for two upcoming events. Singers will also be selling three compact discs at concerts: 1) featuring Camerata and Chorale from past years; 2) a brand new CD featuring the best of Camerata, Chorale and Cantare; and 3) Camerata's Christmas favorites. Members of Camerata have committed to a letter-writing campaign and performing additional concerts at area churches to help further defer costs.

Camerata will present their fall concert Thursday, Oct. 26 and will also hold a Messiah Sing-Along Tuesday, Dec. 5. Both events are at 8 p.m. in Brown Memorial Chapel. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased from any Camerata member or at the door. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will go toward the trip to New York City.

For more information, contact Dr. Thorn at 318-869-5175 or the Hurley School of Music office at 318-869-5235. Financial contributions should be arranged with Centenary’s Office of Development at 318-869-5106.


Centenary College of Louisiana fosters a rich intellectual and social atmosphere. Students work within a strong community to create personalized, distinctive experiences. Building lives of integrity, our students explore the unfamiliar, invent new approaches to understanding, and connect their work and lives to the world at large. Centenary students enjoy a vibrant college life and achieve superior preparation for futures still unimagined. Centenary traces its founding to 1825 and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

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