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HomeNewsLocal newsSinging Chickenhawk Joins Nationwide High School Choir at Carnegie Hall

Singing Chickenhawk Joins Nationwide High School Choir at Carnegie Hall

“It had to be one of the most amazing and most exciting experiences of my life,” said vocalist Harrigan-Thomas. (Submitted photo)

A talented 12th-grader from the Charlotte Amalie High School recently took to the stage at New York’s Carnegie Hall as part of a nationwide choir. Vocalist Qian Harrigan-Thomas, 18, joined more than 50 other high school students making up the Honors Performance Series.

The concert series is sponsored by the Virginia-based WorldStrides, Inc., a 55-year-old educational travel company. Thomas’ five-day February trip to New York and the Perelman Stage in Carnagie’s Stern Auditorium included rehearsals, cultural and social activities, and sightseeing leading up to the performance.

“It has to be one of the most amazing and most exciting experiences in my life,” Thomas said. One of the most amazing moments, he said, came during the final rehearsal in the legendary hall.

“I was performing with our soundcheck. Our voices echoed everywhere,” he said.

Thomas’ mother, Nadja Harrigan, said Qian’s interest in music began in middle school. “He was taking singing lessons and he sang for the CAHS Centennial,” Harrigan said.

Along the way, he trained with classically-trained tenor Gilchris Sprauve and performed locally with his school’s jazz concert band. CAHS Principal April Petrus also recalled Qian on stage in the school auditorium as part of the cast of The Wizard of Oz.

“In lieu of our traditional spring concert, we did a musical,” Petrus said.

In between school work and after-school activities, Thomas also sings with a local band, the Eljhaie Brathwaite Project.

During the band’s recent visit to Atlanta for the WorldStrides Heritage Festival, Qian won the Maestro Award and a chance to vie for a spot with the honors choir.

Students accepted for the performance series undergo a rigorous selection process, including the submission of a performance biography and audition recording. A teacher’s recommendation must also accompany the student’s application.

The submissions are then evaluated by a review board made up of professional musicians. “Their feedback was glowing, acknowledging Qian’s remarkable warm, rich sound and commendable Italian diction. His acceptance letter emphasized his exceptional musical talents, reflecting the dedication and achievements demonstrated in his application,” said Education’s Director of Communications Shayla Solomon. “The Virgin Islands Department of Education extends heartfelt congratulations to Qian Harrigan-Thomas … for his outstanding achievement.”

With that, the singing Chickenhawk is already in pursuit of his next achievement: auditioning for college and music scholarships. “It’s been very interesting because he’s applying now for college for voice,” Harrigan said.

The high school ensemble, made up of students from 50 states and the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is also slated to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London in July.

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