CHESTERMERE – Last month, a talented singer from Chestermere travelled to the Big Apple for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall.
Dallas Hayes-Sparks, 16, who attends Heritage Christian Academy, was selected a few months ago to be part of the 2012 American High School Honors Performance Series. She, along with the rest of the Honors Choir, performed at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 12.
She said that her expectations for the trip were high, and that they weren’t let down in the slightest.
“It was the best experience of my life,” she said. “Just to see all the sights was great, but to be able to sing at Carnegie Hall was amazing.
“When I walked in there for the first time, it was hard to believe it was real.”
Hayes-Sparks didn’t simply hop off the plane, see the sights and jump up on the stage for the big performance, though. All of those selected as part of the program had the opportunity practice as well as work with some of the best in the business.
For the first three days, the performers spent six hours practicing. Hayes-Sparks had the chance to work with Dr. Jeffrey Ames, Director of Choral Activities at Belmont University, who wrote one of the original songs that the choir performed on the 12th.
“He conducted our choir, and wrote one of the songs we sang,” she said. “He was really fun and laid back, and created a good environment. It was fun to learn from him.”
Hayes-Sparks said that practice sessions were tough but rewarding, and she was amazed to see how much talent had come together for the performance.
“It was really cool to be able to sing with people who have the same love for music and singing as I do,” she said. “Everyone was so talented and fantastic and passionate. Being able to sing with people who could hit the same notes that I can was really fun.”
As far as how the actual performance went, Hayes-Sparks said it was nerve-wracking but exciting.
“I didn’t feel nervous, but once I actually got on the stage I could feel myself shaking,” she said. “But after the first three songs I got more comfortable, it felt natural and felt like it was definitely something I was meant to be doing.
“I think the most memorable moment was when we walked on the stage, because I took a moment to realize that it was actually happening. It was pretty amazing.”
Hayes-Sparks said that the support from her family, her school, and especially her music teacher, Shelly Fullerton, helped her land the opportunity in New York.
“I couldn’t have done it without their help and support, it means a lot that everyone helped me get there,” she said. “I will remember it forever, and it showed me that this really is what I’m meant to do.”