Calvert Choir Takes Carnegie Hall

Top row from left: Katie Evans, David Walsh, Aidan Davis, John Otranto, William Thayer, Lacy Pitman. Bottom row from left:
Kathy Gray, Martha Shiles, Sue Hardesty, Ann Marie Scarpino, Gail Walsh. Photo: William Thayer.

By Molly Weeks Crumbley

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? For 11 singers in Calvert County, you get invited. 

On March 27, choir members from the Jesus the Good Shepherd Church in Owings will be lending their voices to Distinguished Concerts International of New York at NYC’s famous Carnegie Hall. 

Under the direction of guest conductor Erin Freeman, the singers will perform Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, a 35-minute long piece composed in the late 1800s. The Fauré Requiem is especially important to the choir, who perform the piece each November to honor departed loved ones in their church’s All Souls Day Mass of Remembrance.

The Requiem will be performed by 100 singers from around the country, and Jesus the Good Shepherd’s choir are the only performers from Maryland or the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. This opportunity is a dream come true for the musicians. 

“Carnegie Hall is one of the most prestigious venues in the world, for both classical and popular music,” says longtime choir member and alto Sue Hardesty. “To be able to step on a stage with such history will be exciting, magical and a privilege.” 

Joining Hardesty are sopranos Kathy Gray, Martha Shiles, and Katie Evans; altos Lacy Pitman, Gail Walsh, and Ann Marie Scarpino; tenors John Otranto, Aidan Davis, and David Walsh; and bass Bill Thayer.

Katie Evans, a graduate of Catholic University who has worked as the church’s musical director for nine years, is excited for the performance. “One of the important lessons from the pandemic is how important our own lived experiences are. To not be able to travel over the last two years has been tough, but to not be able to sing was even worse. The choir members realize we cannot get back these lived experiences and we value them so much more as performers.” 

Evans first submitted a recording of her choir to the organization in 2020, earning them an invitation to perform in 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, however, that concert was postponed. At last, the choir gets to take the stage in the first large choral work to be produced by Distinguished Concerts International for two years. 

“After all these hoops, it will still be worth it to say I have sung at Carnegie Hall,” says soprano Kathy Gray.

The concert will take place on Sunday, March 27 at 2 pm in the Stern Auditorium and Perlman Stage of Carnegie Hall.  The singers will be given commemorative DVDs of their performance to enjoy with friends and family members once they return to Maryland from their Carnegie debuts.

“The Catholic Church has always promoted the fine arts. Music, of course, is no exception,” says Father Michael J. King, pastor of Jesus the Good Shepherd. ”In today’s world, it is vital for the church more than ever to promote classical, choral pieces which are, in fact, timeless.”

For more information about the performance: For more information about Jesus the Good Shepherd Church: