Young Sussex County singers peform at Carnegie Hall


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  • The members of the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County prepare to perform at Carnegie Hall. Credit, Torri Koppenaal of Crazy 3 Photography.



The Children’s Chorus of Sussex County, under the direction of Founder and Artistic Director, Deborah Mello, recently participated in the East Coast premiere of “To be Certain of the Dawn,” a new work by highly respected composer Stephen Paulus in partnership with lyricist Michael Dennis Browne, at Carnegie Hall.

“To Be Certain of the Dawn” is a Holocaust memorial oratorio rooted in themes and subjects of mutual interest to both the Jewish and Christian communities. The piece was written in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, and the 40th Anniversary of the Nostra Aetate (In Our Times), a landmark Vatican II document that condemns blaming the Jews for the death of Christ.

The Children's Chorus of Sussex County (CCSC) was the only children’s choir participating in the performance at Carnegie Hall.

CCSC is often invited to perform with the MidAmerica organization at Carnegie Hall.

“As we moved forward with planning for this concert, we learned that there was an important part for a children’s chorus in the work,” said Norman Dunfee, president and executive director of MidAmerica Productions, Inc. “Our intention was to find the best treble voices in the tri-state area that we knew we could count on for commitment and preparation. The first, and only conductor we spoke with was Deborah Mello, with whom we’ve had the pleasure to work with on numerous occasions. Once she was able to look at the musical score and its requirements, she agreed to prepare the chorus for us. The Children’s Chorus of Sussex County was the only treble choir invited and involved in this performance.”

The collaborative performance was so successful that the members of CCSC have been invited to perform the work in Greece during July 2015.

“The Children’s Chorus of Sussex County has been invited to perform in Carnegie Hall a number of times, but this was the first time we were selected to premiere a new work,” Mello said. “We are honored to have been chosen to inaugurate such an important piece. Not only did the children learn their music, but they also received quite an education about the Holocaust and the importance of tolerance as well. We were very excited about the performance and we continue to be grateful to MidAmerica Productions for the opportunity.”

The Children’s Chorus of Sussex County serves school-aged children in and around Sussex County, New Jersey, by providing a comprehensive choral music program.

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