santaluces_chorus__web.jpgWEST PALM BEACH — Senior Danyele James gets to go with her school choir one more time to the place that inspired her career choice: New York.

The Santaluces Community High Chorus is heading to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall. The last time the chorus performed there was in April 2011 when they sang on Easter Sunday. 

Danyele was on that trip.

“The first time was such an eye-opening experience for me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but that trip inspired me to pursue a career in the arts,” Danyele said.  “Even though I know it’s a business that is not guaranteed, the New York atmosphere eases those fears.”

This year, chorus students will kick off their summer vacation with a five-day trip to the big apple in June. Although 60 students were eligible to attend the trip, only 20 were able to afford the $1,600 price tag.

“We’re a Title I school, and that might as well be a million dollars,” said Chorus Director Richard Andreacchio. “It’s stressful getting ready, but it’s worth it when you land and see their faces. So many of these kids have never left Lantana and this trip really opens their eyes to the world around them and the possibilities.”

It’s been a busy year for Santuluces’ chorus students. They performed at a number of venues to raise money for the trip. Several weeks ago, it was the Garlic Festival in Delray Beach.  In March, they’ll produce a talent show at the school as they rehearse their daily class lessons, the mass for June and the songs for other events.

“At this point we’re so busy with our performances that what we really need are donors,” said Andreacchio. “This trip gives our students something to aspire to and motivates them to work harder.”

The students will perform a Catholic Mass with a full orchestra hired by Manhattan Concert Productions. They will sing alongside other college and high school choruses from around the country.  “The unique part is that the orchestra will be Dixieland style,” said Andreacchio. “It still has the Latin text and all the classical parts of the mass but with a twist.”  That twist is banjos and fiddles replacing traditional violin style. Guest conductor Philip Burnelle will lead the orchestra and chorus through composer Carol Barnett’s arrangement.

“I’m really excited because we get to work on this new piece,” said Danyele.

Other students are looking forward to their first experience outside Palm Beach County. Senior Carlos Rivera will take his first plane ride since coming to the United States when he was five from Honduras. “I’m looking forward to performing at Carnegie Hall and to seeing a Broadway show,” said Carlos. “I want to work in the theater in some way and this is a chance to experience life in New York and get a taste for the place I want to live in the future.”