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Heard from the Mountain to Carnegie Hall posted on 03/01/2022

Sandy High School junior Denali Barrett noted she comes from a musical family, with her parents singing to her since she was young.


But last month, Barrett, who sings with the high school chorus and has taken lesson since she was eight, had the unique experience of singing at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of the High School Honors Treble Choir concert.

“I don’t think I had any expectations,” she said. “I knew everybody there was going to be super talented, so I was looking forward to that. It turned out really awesome.”

The opportunity arose last summer when she found out about the concert, produced by WorldStrides, an educational travel and experiences organization that offers a number of programs, including in the performing arts. Barrett, 17, recorded her audition, sent it off and found out a month later that she was selected, noting that just 1,400 singers out of 15,000 made the cut.

“It's kind of weird. What's the likelihood to get in?” she said.

Barrett received the pieces she would perform in early December to learn them prior to her arrival in New York. Once in the Big Apple she rehearsed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with her group, consisting of 90 young women, before the Feb. 6 concert.

After rehearsals, Barret (who was visiting New York for the first time) took part in a planned activity, including going to a Broadway show, a private yacht on the Hudson River and a visit to the top of the Rockefeller Center.

“New York is super overwhelming, but I love cities so it was really cool,” she said, noting the buildings are “massive.” “The concert itself was the best part for sure. Other than that, the yacht ride was pretty cool.”

Barrett noted that when the group arrived at Carnegie Hall and performed their sound check, the acoustics of the space were notable, particularly after rehearsing in a room at a hotel.

“You could hear all the sounds and the voices envelop you,” she said, adding that she enjoyed all the music they sang, but her favorite was “As the Rain Hides the Stars” due to the harmonies.

Barrett’s parents made the trip with her, and her mom, Julie, noted that they enjoyed exploring the city, including visits to Central Park, the Natural History Museum, the 9/11 memorial, while also reflecting on what it was like seeing her daughter on stage at Carnegie Hall.

“Are there any words? Overwhelming, amazing, proud,” Julie said. “I know my girl’s going places.”

Denali plans on studying music in college, and in the meantime, she’s planning on auditioning for the AllStars group at the Portland School of Rock, where she has studied.

By Garth Guibord/MT





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