YSU Professor Leads Singers to Carnegie Hall

YOUNGSTOWN – Hae-Jong Lee is heading to Carnegie Hall to conduct a concert and he’s taking a group of area singers with him.

On May 23, the Youngstown State University professor and choral director will lead the New England Symphonic Ensemble and a large chorus in a concert performance of John Rutter’s “Requiem” at the renowned concert hall in New York. 

The concert is being presented by MidAmerica Productions, the foremost producer of choral concerts at the Carnegie, as part of its 37th annual series. MidAmerica reached out to Lee with the offer to conduct the choral groups in the concert.

Upon accepting the job, Lee – who is also director of the Stambaugh Chorus – was told he could use singers from his Youngstown choral groups to be part of the concert. He wound up putting together a group solely for the event.

“Because many YSU singers showed interest in joining the Carnegie Hall concert, despite the substantial travel cost, I have created a new choir, the Youngstown Cantorum,” says Lee. 

The new group falls under the auspices of the Stambaugh Chorus. The singers hail from northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania.

In addition to performing Rutter’s “Requiem” as part of the choral-orchestral concert in Carnegie Hall, Youngstown Cantorum will also give an a cappella performance in historic Grace Church in New York on May 21, 2020. 

Tickets to the Carnegie Hall concert will be available to purchase on Carnegie Hall’s website. Admission to the Grace Church concert will be free.

In order to help defray the cost of the New York trip, the Youngstown Cantorum will have a series of events, including three “Requiem” preview concerts, which are free but donations are accepted. 

Here is the schedule:

  • Nov. 3: Concert at 2:30 p.m. at Canfield Presbyterian Church, 140 W. Main St., Canfield. Admission is free but donations will be accepted.
  • Nov. 9: Pasta dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave., Youngstown ($8, free for children 5 and under). This event will also include 50/50 and basket raffles.
  • Feb. 2: Concert at 1:30 p.m. at St. Patrick Church, 1410 Oak Hill Ave., Youngstown. 

Lee said the Youngstown Cantorum is interested in booking more performances in the area during the holiday season. Interested organizations can contact him at hlee01@ysu.edu.

Those who are interested in joining the Youngstown Cantorum and taking part in the New York concerts can join the Stambaugh Chorus in the spring. Go to StambaughChorus.org for information.

At its annual Peace Concert on May 16 at St. Columba Cathedral, the Stambaugh Chorus will be joined by the Youngstown Cantorum in performing  Rutter’s “Requiem.”

The Carnegie Hall concert is not the first time Lee has led a Youngstown choir on a high-profile concert tour. In 2017, he led the Dana Chorale of YSU on a concert tour of Korea. It was the first time a Dana School of Music ensemble performed in Asia.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.