NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State University Meistersingers – TSU’s premiere choral group – added to its lore with a recent performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
The June 2nd performance followed a successful $20,000 fundraising campaign.
“Carnegie Hall is a grand place,” said Mayson Harris, a rising senior studying music at TSU. “To actually perform there, the acoustics were amazing. I could hear all the voices blending together. I can’t wait to see what our choir does next,” the baritone singer said.
Eight TSU Meistersingers traveled to NYC to premiere a new musical piece alongside students from other universities. Out of more than 80 singers from various colleges and community choruses, TSU was the only HBCU to be a part of the 30-minute performance at Carnegie Hall.
“Having more Black voices in Carnegie Hall, especially from HBCUs, will always have a big impact,” said Harris from Nashville. “If one can do it, we can take it a step further and have all HBCUs at Carnegie Hall.”
Accompanying the TSU Meistersingers during their performance was Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Angelica Dunsavage, who pointed to praise from Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), an organization that collaborated with the singers.
“They (DCINY) were really impressed by our students,” said Dunsavage, noting that TSU’s students were commended for their preparation and professionalism and received an invitation to return for any future opportunities.
The students showcased a musical piece titled “Where We Find Ourselves,” inspired by a series of photographs taken during the Jim Crow era in North Carolina. The Carnegie Hall premiere was composed by Michael Bussewitz-Quarm.
Dunsavage emphasized that exposure at this level is crucial for the TSU Meistersingers.
“It means a lot to our students to start building travel up and getting more of a national reputation for the choral program.”
The performance also held great significance for TSU student Link Fisher III.
“Sharing a stage that all these greats have shared, it was a moment to thank God for allowing me to be here,” Fisher said, recalling two of his favorite vocalists, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald.
“All these opportunities keep presenting themselves. You take them and you learn from them.” Fisher, a senior studying performing arts and French, said his post-graduation plans involve “living life to the fullest.” He plans to attend graduate school in Paris to pursue a career in conducting music and opera singing.
(For more information about TSU Meistersingers, visit www.tnstate.edu/music/meistersingers.)