Students from Hermosa Middle School choirs perform, Thursday at Hermosa Middle School in Farmington.
Students from Hermosa Middle School choirs perform, Thursday at Hermosa Middle School in Farmington. (Jon Austria/ The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — Faith Chavers is anxious to see the crowds and the large buildings of New York City.

"It's been my dream since I was a little girl to go to New York," said the Hermosa Middle School eighth-grader.

In March, Chavers' dream will come true when 45 members of the middle school's choir sing with the National Middle School Choir, directed by Rollo Dilworth, at the famed Carnegie Hall in Midtown Manhattan.

Chavers started singing in choir two years ago.

"I love singing with everybody and the sound it makes is just beautiful," she said.

The school's road to New York started two years ago during a Heritage Festival. Heritage Festivals are musical festivals for high school and middle school children. They take place in various locations across the United States.

Hermosa has been sending students to the festivals in Las Vegas, Nev., and Anaheim, Calif., for the past decade, but, recently, the school has scaled back and attends one of the festivals every other year, said Petra Lyon, Hermosa's choir teacher.

At the festivals, choirs receive scores, with 100 being a perfect score. Choirs that score 95 or above get invitations to perform at Carnegie Hall as part of the National Middle School Choir.

Lyon said Hermosa has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall three times but has never gone. However, this year various factors lined up, enabling the choir to take the trip.

One of those factors is that this year, the event falls during the school's spring break, so students will only miss one day of school.

Students will load onto a school bus March 26 and drive to the Denver International Airport, where they will catch a flight to New York. A handful of the students have never flown on a plane before.

Lyon said one difference between singing at Carnegie and going to the festival is "it's not about what kind of singer you are. It's how hard you work."

She said she wanted to see how many of her kids were willing to work hard enough to reach Carnegie Hall.

Students from Hermosa Middle School choirs perform during the annual Halloween Concert Thursday at Hermosa Middle School in Farmington.
Students from Hermosa Middle School choirs perform during the annual Halloween Concert Thursday at Hermosa Middle School in Farmington. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

"It's sort of exceeded my wildest expectations," Lyon said.

Part of this hard work is raising around $2,000 each. The children have until Nov. 15 to raise $1,000, which is half of the total amount, Lyon said.

Daelyn Tracy, who is in eighth grade, said the fundraising has been going well. She's managed to raise $400 for the trip between selling the popular Butter Braid frozen pastries and getting business sponsors.

"They really like what we sell," Tracy said.

Fundraising has also taught students valuable life skills.

"You have to learn how to manage your money and to sell to people wisely," said Quinn Holman, an eighth-grade choir student.

There are various ways people can help students raise $2,000. Businesses can either sponsor a child or the choir. Choir sponsors who donate more than $250 will get their names displayed on travel T-shirts that the students will wear during the trip.

Also planned are individual fundraisers, including an upcoming cookie dough sale.

In addition to singing, Lyon said the trip will provide students with cultural and historical lessons as they visit sights like Chinatown, Ellis Island and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

For eighth-grader Cecilia Dean, the concert in New York is like returning to her childhood home. Dean moved to Farmington from Maine when she was in third grade, but spent a lot of time in the New York area before that. However, she has never seen Carnegie Hall or many of the other tourist attractions on the itinerary.

"We kind of just bypassed the tourist stuff," she said.

Dean said she is excited for the trip.

"It's Carnegie, for Pete's sake," she said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.