GLEN COVE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A highly acclaimed Long Island choir will sing for the pope at an upcoming command performance at the Vatican.
The Glen Cove Chorale has already sung at the White House, now they’re preparing for a heavenly performance.
Under Director Ed Norris’ guidance, the teens in the Glen Cove Chorale already know what it’s like to put on a high-profile show. Just two-years-ago, they sang for the President and the First Lady in the East Wing of the White House.
“That was one of the highlights. Not just for my career, but my whole life,” Norris told TV 10/55’s Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose.
Norris has been the Chorale’s director for 13 years, and never thought his group could top the call from the White House, but they have.
“We’re going this January to Rome to sing for Pope Francis at the Vatican,” Norris said.
A local man with connections to the Vatican saw the chorale performing on TV 10/55 and recommended they do the same for Pope Francis. Choir members couldn’t believe it when the Vatican agreed.
“Never, I never ever thought in a million years I’d be performing for the Pope. It’s insane. We’re all very excited,” Brendan Hamel said.
“My parents are overjoyed. My grandmother cries when she thinks about it. She’s happy. I think people just don’t believe it. They’re really happy for us,” Evelina Backiel said.
The honor to sing for the pope also comes with a great challenge; raising the money to make the trip to Rome.
“Well it’s actually just about $3,000 a student. So, it’s almost $140,000 to take the whole group over to Rome next year,” Norris said.
Norris said they’ve already started a Go Fund Me page, are setting up a local fundraiser performance, and are looking for corporate sponsors for their week-long performance beginning January 1.
Chorale members said they’re sure their prayers for financial support will be answered, to allow them to reach for the heavens in the new year.
On Wednesday night, the Glen Cove Chorale sang the National Anthem before the start of the Mets game.