EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Americas High School Varsity Treble Choir was chosen for a performance of a lifetime at Carnegie Hall in New York City as the only featured choir at the National Youth Choir & Instrumental Music Festival.

Back in August of 2022, the choir, along with their director Rocio Manriquez, sent an audition to be included into the National Youth Choir under conductor Dr. Lynne Gackle, director of choral activities at Baylor University.

Several weeks later, Manriquez said, they received an email stating not only have they been accepted into the choir for the performance, but that they loved the audition so much they wanted to have them as the only featured choir at the festival taking place on Sunday, March 26 at Carnegie Hall.

They picked three songs for their performance: “The Seal Lullaby” by Eric Whitacre, “Am Wildback die Welden” from Vier Lieder aus dem Jungbrunnen by Brahms that is sung in German and a traditional spiritual song “Lord, I Know I’ve Been Changed.”

The third song is an arranged commissioned piece from a 21-year-old singer, songwriter, composer and producer Abeni Merriweather who is a music major at UTEP.

“It was a song that I had heard, and I fell in love with it. The meaning, the intensity, the power,” said Manriquez.

However, she explained, that the song was not arranged to be performed by a choir.

“I said, naturally, I can arrange it for you, and the moment I said that I was like, they are performing at Carnegie Hall,” recalled Merriweather.

Merriweather is the youngest signed composer for Carl Fischer Music publisher.

She said it’s an honor to be able to hear her music piece at such a young age at a prominent stage in NYC.

Since finding out about their performance, the choir set up a number of fundraisers to help with their travel expenses and successfully gathered what they needed.

“I really feel like it’s a whole piece that comes together and really unifies each other’s love for choir,” said one of the choir members and junior at Americas High School, Aliyza Lopez.

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