Southwestern Randolph group performs at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Southwestern Randolph High School choral students pose for a photo outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. (Courtesy photo)

ASHEBORO – A group of nearly three dozen Southwestern Randolph High School students took part in a special trip to New York during spring break.

The concert choir and advanced honors ensemble made up the group.

The highlight was performing at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

That performance of about 40 minutes involved songs specifically for cathedral settings.

“It was beautiful,” said Kerri Smith, whose daughter, Skylee, is a member of the honors ensemble. “It was just great.”

The group was under the direction of choral director Alyssa Plott. Several parent and teacher chaperones accompanied the students.

“For these students, this was their first high school choral trip,” Plott said. “I really wanted them to have a performance opportunity.”

In advance of the performance, the group practiced at its hotel, even drawing an audience for that.

On the day that the Southwestern Randolph students performed at the cathedral, they had spent time in the Times Square area. The students then changed into their concert attire across the street at Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue.

“We made it work and made the most of it,” Plott said.

The audience for the Southwestern Randolph concert included anyone visiting the cathedral at the time, perhaps up to 200. A mother and daughter from France looked on.

While there are many visitors to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, it’s an active Catholic church with many special events taking place. The group’s performance came shortly after a mass – and just a few days after Easter.

The choir received positive feedback from some of the onlookers.

“It was great for people to see us perform from little old Asheboro, North Carolina,” Plott said. “The students were so proud and just thrilled with how it went off.”

Alyssa Plott directs Southwestern Randolph High School choral students during their recent performance at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. (Courtesy photo)

The selection process in order to perform at St. Patrick’s Cathedral involved Plott sending recordings and paperwork. She also submitted the school’s 2023 spring concert.

The school group had a bus tour to take in sights, including the 9/11 Memorial, Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden. The students attended Broadway musicals Wicked and Aladdin in the city.

Many of the students were making their first visits to New York after months of fundraising. Fifteen of the 33 students are seniors.

“It was really cool to watch their faces,” Kerri Smith said.

The trip marked the second time Plott had taken a group from the school to New York.

This was Southwestern Randolph’s first choral trip since 2019. A scheduled 2020 visit to Disney World was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Next for the Southwestern Randolph performers will be the annual musical – “The Greatest Show: Hits from Stage and Screen” – at 7 p.m. May 2-4 at the school. Photos from the New York trip will be on display at those ticketed performances at the school.

The school’s spring concert comes May 21 at First Baptist Church in Asheboro, with some songs from the spring break trip on the list. Admission is free.

By Bob Sutton