By Tom Tolen /

The Brighton High School choirs have received a prestigious honor with an invitation to perform in 2022 at Carnegie Hall in New York City - considered the top musical venue in the US.

The Brighton choirs have been invited to perform in the National Youth Choir during the Choirs of America Nationals for Top Choirs, to be held on March 25th and 26th of next year. The Brighton High School choirs are no strangers to gaining international recognition. It was just five years ago that a select group culled from the four choirs traveled to Italy, where they performed at churches in Florence and Rome and at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, where they were privileged to sing before Pope Francis. They have also won numerous superior ratings at many competitions over the years.

BHS Choir Director Phil Johnson tells WHMI a decision has not been made at this time whether to accept the invitation since the COVID-19 pandemic is still afflicting thousands of families in places like New York. However, the figures are gradually going down. According to the New York Times, the number of cases in NYC has dropped by 7% in the last week alone.

In a letter to Superintendent Matthew Outlaw and the Board of Education, Johnson said he is “honored to be recognized for making music at a level that has (the Brighton High School choirs) being invited to events like this.” And he has been invited to appear before the board at its next meeting on March 22nd.

Johnson also said that while he has “no expectations of accepting….(he is) looking forward to future travel and performance opportunities like this.” Johnson said he informed the Board of Education and administration as soon as he received the invitation because, in his words, he “felt they should know that we received the invitation, (and) what an honor it is.”

The festival schedule includes an adjudicated performance by each choir at the LeFrak Concert Hall of Queens College, workshops and clinics with vocal music experts, massed and individual choir performances at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, and a DVD recording of their Carnegie Hall concert.

Johnson said the mere fact that Brighton’s reputation earned them the invitation portends well for the choirs being invited to future choral events, remarking that, again his words, “(more) opportunities like this will be available to our BHS singers when the pandemic is under control.”

In the meantime, Johnson’s young charges will be very busy at home. A Festival Concert is coming up next Tuesday, March 16th, at 7pm. It will be the high school choir’s fourth concert of the year, and the third to be held in the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts.