Day two of our visit to New York City was a complete success! Our day started with a good, healthy breakfast. After that, everyone was able to kick back and relax for a while. It wasn’t long before the Voices of Unity got back to practicing a few drills. After a good practice we got together to hear inspiring words from Mr. Christopher Richardson who led us in a prayer and intentional reflection time.
After we were all inspired for the day, we made our way inside the lobby in preparation for our trip to Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) which is a prominant, nationally recognized school for Harlem youth. The buses were loaded up and we were on our way to Harlem. The youth choir took in the sights of a rainy George Washington Bridge and Harlem. Our arrival to the Harlem Children’s Zone was followed by a quick and organized transition to the inside of the building where we were warmly welcomed by their staff. We enjoyed a wonderful Italian dinner followed by a prompt settip and practice for our concert later in the day.
We were scheduled to perform at Harlem Chiildren's Zone who hosts an annual gospel worship concert that includes other youth choirs, dancers, and worship leaders. After practice and final preparations for our concert, we gathered in the auditorium to watch other talented musical groups performed. This concert was in celebration of world renowned social activist Mr. Geoffrey Canada, who has been called “one of the most ambitious social policy experiments of our time” by the New York Times.
In 2011, Mr. Canada was named to the TIME 100 list of most influential people in the world and, in March 2014, was named one of Fortune’s 50 greatest leaders in the world. Mr. Canada was able to use his visionary leadership to expand the influence of the Harlem Children’s Zone into a success in the times he’s been there.
Our student’s performed a set of beautiful songs, including "America the Beautiful," "What a Wonderful World" and "Sanctuary." We also did a rendition of Michael Jackson’s "I'll Be There", which included solos by Kendall Gaston and Jordan Bridges! Jocelyn Redman also sang Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time.” Needless to say, the crowed was impressed and gave a standing ovation for choir. The Indiana youth choir impressed the New York City audience and took the house down!
Right after our performance we rushed back to the buses to make it to tthe Lion King on Broadway at Minskoff Theatre! Thanks to our great drivers Deb and Bob, we made it to our show on time. Excitement rushed through the entire group as we made it inside the doors and found our seats.
The show was beautiful and a great first Broadway experience for the youth choir. The customes, props, lighting, effects, actors, and story were all amaizing! We happily walked out of the theatre with conditioned excitement and Lion King souvenirs. The day wasn’t over yet, and we were able to continue our mission to represent Fort Wayne nationally. Thanks to the quick thinking of Mr White, we were able to find a small space in the lobby of the Minskoff Theatre and perform in front of an international audience as they were leaving.
The audience quickly stopped and took notice of the unified voices of the youth choir. They were amazed and many of them took videos of the choir from their phones. We even had the love and support of the cast of the Lion King! It was our way of sharing our love and talent with the world, especially after seeing such a fantastic musical performance. The impromtu performance was one of the many highlights of the day.
After the quick performance, we quickly headed to our buses and started our journey back to the hotel. Tired staff and students made their way into the hotel and into their rooms for much needed rest. Our day will start bright and early tomorrow as we spend our day at Queens College!