“It was an amazing experience.”

Arts & Entertainment Community Online First

East Hants Choral Society returns with once-in-a-lifetime memories from performing at Carnegie Hall

ELMSDALE: Members of East Hants Choral Society who travelled to New York and performed at Carnegie Hall are still pinching themselves to see if it was all real.

The group went to New York after being contacted by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), a leading concert producer in NYC providing opportunities for singers and instrumentalists to perform in the most prestigious concert halls.

Martha Healy is the conductor with the EHCS and who many with the group credit with getting the group there. It all began a year-plus ago when Healy was contacted about the relatively new group.

“It was the trip of a lifetime,” said Healy. “It was excellent in musicianship and professional development.”

Healy led a group of 60 musicians from the East Hants area and some with family members to New York. It didn’t come easy as the group held several fundraisers over the past 12 months to raise the funds to head down.

She said it meant a lot to get to say she played at Carnegie Hall.

“It was an experience of the lifetime,” she said. “It was relaxing as all I had to do was sing. I didn’t have anything to worry about. I just enjoyed the experience.”

Al Wallace said going to NYC is something that one has on their bucket list. He said it was a great opportunity to see an Opera-type setting.

“It was beyond your imagination for your bucket list,” he said. “It’s something I wouldn’t have done on my own. It was a wonderful experience.”

He admitted that the idea just went in one ear and out the other as if it wouldn’t really happen.

The group was well prepared beforehand by Healy.

“That’s what made all the difference in the world for us,” he said. “We got trimmed up by the conductor there to fit in with 400 other singers.”

Eileen Bowlby always wanted to perform on a big stage. Little did she know she would get to perform on one of the biggest stages of them all at Carnegie Hall. She said going to NYC is a huge statement for the choir because it was only two years old when they received the invitation.

“It’s a huge statement about Martha’s ability and direction,” said Bowlby. “It was overwhelming, awe-inspiring.”

She was so excited when the group had to go to Hants East Rural High and perform on a big stage there. She was doubly excited—and maybe awestruck—when Healy got the invitation for NY.

“She was the first person I thought of when I got the invitation,” said Healy with a chuckle.

Bowlby said she had to check her emotions when she went on stage for dress rehearsal.

“It was very emotional to think we were there performing with 400 soloists, 100 string orchestra, and 578 voices,” she said. “It was breathtaking.”

Healy said without the community the trip wouldn’t have been possible.

“The community helped us get there through supporting our fundraising efforts so we owe a huge thank you to them and DCINY for having faith in us and inviting us there,” said Healy.

MAIN PHOTO: Eileen Bowlby; Al Wallace; and Martha Healy were three of the 60-member East Hants Choral Society that wants to thank the community for their support in the fundraising drive to perform at Carnegie Hall in NYC. The group just returned with memories to last a lifetime from the amazing experience. (Healey photo)