Very Important Choir Tour News

Dear Cheltenham Choir Students and Families,

I am writing to share the unfortunate and unexpected news that our Kennedy Center tour event in Washington, D.C. has been canceled. Manhattan Concert Productions (MCP) is in the rare position of having an event not meet its quota of enrolled singers; therefore, this particular event is not able to continue. Please see below for official communication from MCP.

I know this is a great disappointment. I know many of you have spent countless hours and untold efforts to fundraise for this tour. I also know that none of us expected this to happen. I am very sorry to have to share this news and to disappoint you in any way.

I do firmly believe in the massive value of this trip for our students and for our Cheltenham Choir program, which is why I’m very happy to be able to present a quite attractive alternate tour plan.

After speaking at length with the Founder and Director of MCP and having extensive discussions with our CHS VPA Boosters’ parent leaders, we are happy to be able to offer all our students a wonderful tour to New York City, with a performance in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, June 15-18, 2012.

This package offers several benefits that exceed the original D.C. package.

Several benefits were negotiated with MCP with the leadership of Bonnie Aaron and the VPA Boosters. All participants will receive:

  • $100 off the original complete tour price, per student: $895 rather than $995
  • 3 vouchers for large, full, hot breakfasts at the famous Carnegie Deli in midtown Manhattan
  • Complimentary tickets for every interested Cheltenham family member to attend the concert at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall Sunday, June 17, at 8:00 pm
  • A binding contract guaranteeing the event will proceed as scheduled
  • Possibly, other benefit(s) to be announced

Plus, the New York City package includes these very significant perks:

  • Tickets to a Broadway show on Saturday, June 16 for every participant. (Top three show choices will be determined by student vote, based on about 20 given possibilities.)
  • A free ticket for every student to the “Top of the Rock”–the observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center, affording a stunning panoramic view of the New York City.
  • A post-concert reception cruise with appetizers and dancing: sights include the Statue of Liberty and the beautiful Manhattan skyline
  • Hotel accommodations at the Park Central Hotel (or similar hotel) in midtown Manhattan
  • A fantastic rehearsal and concert experience under the direction of Dr. Paul Rardin. Dr. Rardin is the new Director of Choral Activities at Temple University and is already a friend of our program–not to mention a world-class conductor.

We understand that the timing of this tour, at the end of the school year, may not be ideal for some students. While we are disappointed, as you are, that the original plans had to change, we have worked hard to create the very best alternate solution possible. The CHS and District administration have approved the June 15-18 dates and have committed to facilitating this trip. The VPA Boosters leadership and I will continue to work to ensure everyone can proceed with a positive feeling about this opportunity.

More Information on the School Year and the Schedule: Graduation is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 14. If we have 1, 2, or 3 more snow days this year, graduation will be moved earlier. If we have 4 more snow days or more, there is a chance that graduation would be moved later. We will develop with MCP an acceptable contingency plan in that unlikely case; we will demand full refunds of all payments if our students are unable to attend. That said, the CHS administrators and I believe that moving graduation to a later date in June is extremely unlikely. We expect all CHS students to be able to attend the June 15-18 trip.

A Note on Upcoming Payments: No payment will be due January 20. We will resume payments February 15.

This remains an excellent opportunity to perform in one of our nation’s finest concert halls, in our country’s great entertainment capital, with a fantastic choral conductor and a group of amazing Cheltenham singers. I still firmly believe this will be a tremendously memorable, valuable event–an experience of a lifetime–for our students. And I believe that the New York City package is a great step up from our original plans–in terms of the location, the benefits, and the overall experience.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me on my cell: 404-918-1583. I’m happy to discuss any details with you in the coming days.

Thank you, again, for your support of our vibrant, high-quality choir program at Cheltenham. I am honored to work with you all, and I hope to see as many of our CHS students as possible on stage at Lincoln Center June 17.

Jenny Hutton

Included below, for your information, is official communication from the Founder and Director of Manhattan Concert Productions, Dr. Craig Arnold.

Manhattan Concert Productions secures hall space at legendary venues, designs suitable events, hires guest conductors and other professional musicians as needed, and invites qualified ensembles to participate. We are in our 13th season of doing so. It is our goal to provide outstanding, professional music-making experiences for our participating musicians, along with careful hospitality while in residence. We have been well noted for excellence in the process.

Occasionally, our proposed events do not reach critical mass, and we have to cancel an event. In that circumstance, we invite interested groups to consider a similar opportunity, or refund all monies deposited. We realize that it is neither in your interest or ours to have to cancel an event. We go to extreme lengths to make each and every event take place. In the case of your Kennedy Center event, we had ample evidence to proceed. We are in challenging economic times, which I don’t have to remind anyone, and we have had some ensembles that have had to reverse course, no longer leaving us with the necessary critical mass to proceed.

As a teacher of college and high school for over 25 years, I am well aware of the planning and investment required to give your students this kind of unique performing opportunity – – working with a world-class conductor in a world-class venue in a world-class city. It is sometimes hard for people to even properly compare this unique music-making experience with the more standard “class trip” or field trip. This is a professional music-making experience with its attending costs. I applaud Ms. Hutton for the vision to offer this opportunity to your students. I congratulate you and your booster organization and community for also seeing fit to support and assist this program development.

We regret loosing our Kennedy Center concert this year. But we enthusiastically present the alternative of attending any of our New York concerts. Participants love rehearsing, performing, and experiencing this performance and communication capital of the world. In moving from Washington, DC to New York, your students will have the opportunity of attending a Broadway show included in their package, along with tickets to the observation deck “Top of the Riock” and a post-concert reception cruise in the New York Harbor out to the Statue of Liberty. And all this alongside my offer to reduce your cost $100.00. And, further, for your inconvenience, we will offer each participant three days of breakfast coupons at the famed Carnegie Deli.

Excellent experiences for our participating students remains at the heart of our mission. We apologize for your inconvenience, but trust that you can see the value in a New York City alternative. We will not deposit any checks that are in transit from Cheltenham, unless instructed by Ms. Hutton to do so in light of any current meetings and decisions. We will look for Ms. Hutton’s confirmation that a move to an alternative date is her interest. We want to be saving space in her event of choice, or refund all monies if the students from Cheltenham are not to perform with Manhattan Concert Productions this year.

I look forward to continued work with Cheltenham High School and will stay personally involved….

Most sincerely,

Craig Arnold
Craig Arnold, DMA Artistic Director & Chair
Manhattan Concert Productions
236 W. 30th Street 9th Fl, New York, NY 10001


1 comment so far

  1. cheltenhamchoirs on

    If you weren’t signed up for the D.C. trip, you may still sign up for the N.Y.C. trip! Just let Ms. Hutton know of your interest asap!

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