ACCMS Carnegie Hall Performance

In July, 2023, Artistic Director Paul Shellhammer III inquired about NYC performances of Composer Ola Gjeilo’s works and learned that the debut of Mr. Gjeilo’s most recent work, Twilight Mass, would be at Carnegie Hall in November, 2023, and another concert, a compilation of his works, was planned for April, 2024. They were produced by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY).

Paul submitted a video of ACCMS performing “Dark and Luminous Night” at our March 19, 2023 concert and the ACCMS was accepted to perform! With great excitement, (and some trepidation), the ACCMS Board voted to pursue this goal, and the Fundraising began.

Fundraisers included three Dine to Donate events at Applebee’s, one at Chipotle, a Paint-and-Sip with Artist Chris Davis, ACCMS Concerts, a GoFundMe account, Basket Raffles, Bake Sales, financial support from Foundations, Civic groups, individuals, and an Art Auction. Hundreds of volunteer hours from Board members, singers, and friends of ACCMS were devoted to planning and completing the various events. Monies raised helped to defray some of the singers’ expenses.

Members of the ACCMS Chorale began rehearsals of the Twilight Mass in January 2024, preparing for the April 22nd NYC performance and the May 5th Thank You concert in Ashtabula: “Live From New York-Our Carnegie Hall Concert.”

On April 19th, 22 ACCMS singers, including Artistic Director Paul Shellhammer III, family, and friends boarded a bus to NYC, and the adventure began. Over the next three days the singers’ Residency Schedule included two 4 hour rehearsals held at Fordham University, NYC and a 2 hour rehearsal on concert day – our first glimpse at Carnegie Hall – absolutely jaw dropping!

ACCMS joined with singers from across the nation to form a 202 member choir, under the direction of Guest Conductor Irene Messoloras, Director of Choral Activities at the University of California, Irvine. It was an incredible honor to perform under her direction. We sang the pieces in the second act, “Ubi Caritas” and “Twilight Mass.” In the first act another 200 member choir sang other works composed by Mr. Gjeilo, including “Dark Night of the Soul” and “Luminous Night of the Soul,” works that ACCMS had performed previously in Ashtabula concerts.

The April 22nd Carnegie Hall concert was entitled “A Soul Filled Journey: The Music of Ola Gjeilo.” Composer Ola Gjeilo attended the Carnegie Hall rehearsal, and was pianist for parts of the concert, including “Ubi Caritas,” in which he improvised around the choir singing the piece. This was a new and wonderful challenge for the ACCMS Chorale.

“Twilight Mass” as described in the concert playbill: “weaves a celestial tapestry of harmonies, inviting listeners to embark on a journey through sunset’s transcendent beauty.” Performing at this concert also felt like a wondrous celestial journey!