The Central Christian College of Kansas Concert Choir is rehearsing this week for a once-in-a-lifetime performance. The choir was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City in November.

"It's a wonderful opportunity," said Tiffiney Harms, professor of vocal and choral music at the college.

Sixteen recent and current members of the choir will sing in "Appalachian Winter — A Bluegrass Christmas," part of the Distinguished Concerts International New York Concert Series.

"There are about 12 other choirs that are performing at this event," Harms said.

The concert features the music of pianist and composer Joseph Martin. Martin's first solo piano recording, "American Tapestry," was nominated for a Dove Award. He is also recognized for his many choral compositions, more than 1,200 of which are currently in print.

Martin gave a concert of his works at CCCK in 2016, which led to his inviting the choir to Carnegie Hall to perform the premier of his cantata, "Rhapsody in Bluegrass."

"In January, we got a call and he said, 'I'd like your choir to come perform at Carnegie Hall with me,'" Harms said.

The nine-movement cantata is made up of folk songs and hymns with Christmas text.

"A trademark of Joseph Martin is taking old melodies and creating new words," Harms said. "We will actually be performing the work as well at our Christmas Choral Masterwork on Dec. 10."

American bluegrass and country music group Dailey & Vincent will accompany the singers.

"I enjoy getting to do a larger work and the students do, too. It's a lot of hard work that pays off in the end," Harms said.

Gaining experience with types of accompaniment other than a single piano is valuable for the choir.

"I think that this is a great opportunity for the students," Harms said. "They have really grown and to be invited by Joe, personally, to go and be a part of this event is a dream come true."

“The Central Christian College of Kansas choir received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers as well as the exceptional personal recommendation of Joseph Martin," said DCINY artistic director and principal Conductor Dr. Jonathan Griffith. "It is quite an honor just to be invited to perform in New York. These wonderful musicians not only represent a high quality of music and education, but they also become ambassadors for the entire community.”

The choir has grown in numbers over recent years but still retains a uniqueness in its composition.

"We a choir of many different majors — they are not just music majors," Harms said. "We're a little bit different than some of the colleges around. Here we have students that enjoy being a part of music and ministry the way we do it."

Besides performing, the choir will spend time in New York City rehearsing, eating at famous restaurants, seeing "Anastasia" on Broadway and visiting landmarks.

"We'll get to visit Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial Museum and Central Park," Harms

said.

To give financial support for the Central

Christian College of Kansas choir's trip to New York, contact Harms at tiffiney.harms@centralchristian.edu.

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at pmiddleton@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.