East Idaho church choir sings at Carnegie Hall


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Members of the local First Evangelical Lutheran Church choir recently joined other groups from around the United States to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York City. | Photos courtesy Peggy Dixon.

IDAHO FALLS — One of the ultimate dreams of any singer is to sing where so many of the greats have performed — at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

A local church choir recently did just that.

Forty-four members of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church choir in Idaho Falls got to take part in the “Appalachian Winter” performance at Carnegie Hall. The local choir joined many other singing groups from around the United States for the event. The combined 250-person choir was led by acclaimed musician Joseph Martin, who has composed thousands of songs.

Penny Dixon, director of music ministry at First Evangelical in Idaho Falls, knows Martin and a year ago he called to ask if her choir might be interested in performing at Carnegie Hall as part of a large group of singers. They submitted an audition and were accepted.

Peggy Dixon

The First Evangelical Lutheran Church choir has spent the last year practicing the songs. Recently they flew to New York City, along with family and friends to cheer them on, to perform on Nov. 27. Being on stage at such a legendary place was awe-inspiring, according to Dixon.

“Carnegie Hall was everything I had hoped and dreamed,” she said. “It’s hallowed ground. It was so humbling. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

She explained that it was also fun meeting the other singers who had worked just as hard as the Idaho Falls group. The voices seemed to blend seamlessly.

“There were 250 voices that glorified God,” she said.

The songs they performed were original American Christmas tunes written by Martin. The choir will sing those same songs at the church at 455 West Sunnyside Road in Idaho Falls Sunday at 4 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. Offerings collected will be given to the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen and the local food bank.

The choir does a local Christmas concert every year and gives offerings to charity.

“It’s such a great cause,” Dixon said. “Last year we collected $15,000.”

Peggy Dixon