Two Birmingham area choirs prepare for New York performance

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 10:19 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Once you hear the introduction, it’s easy to sing along with the famous line “they say the neon lights are bright on Broadway.”

Two groups of Birmingham area students are hoping to see for themselves exactly how bright those lights are, although they’ll be performing just east of the famous street.

Members of the choirs from Fairfield Preparatory High School just outside of Birmingham and members of the choir at Birmingham’s Ramsay High School have been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall on May 13.

The choirs will join Alabama State University’s choir and ASU Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Kristofer Sanchack who was invited to be a guest conductor of Adolphus Hailstork’s “I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes” with the New England Symphonic Ensemble.

Sanchack has become familiar with both choirs and their directors, Zachary Banks at Ramsay and Twanisha Brooks at Fairfield, through ASU’s annual Honors Choir Workshop.

“I know that their director, Ms. Twanisha Brooks, she’s on top of things, and I know that she is not going to let them get away with anything that isn’t up to her standard” says Sanchack. “So that was one of the reasons I said, ‘I know if we invite them, she’s going to make sure that they are gonna be on top of their game.’ And same thing with Ramsay. Ramsay has really been pushing themselves to sing tougher literature. I saw their choir a couple years ago as a clinician at an event, and they were doing college level material a couple years ago.”

Not surprisingly, both high school directors grasp the magnitude of the opportunity.

“A lot of people have very successful careers both in choral music, solo music, opera, theater, dance and never set foot in that building” Banks told Birmingham City Schools. “So it’s pretty impressive that we’re taking a bunch of teenagers to get an opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall.”

Brooks says the idea of singing at Carnegie Hall has her hungry for even greater opportunities for her students.

“I know with the kids I have in this community, maybe one day I will get a chance to take my kids to Paris or London or any kind of place that’s overseas so they can see the world. My goal is to make sure that whatever I come across, I try to make sure my kids have a great opportunity in achieving that goal.” Fairfield and Ramsay have been raising money to make sure their students won’t just travel to New York, but be able to take in some of the city as well. 

If you’d like to help the students, the Fairfield choir’s parents have set up a GoFundMe account that you can access here.

To donate to the Ramsay choir, you can contact the school at (205) 231-7000, or the choir director at

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