Griffith University health and musical theatre students will jet off for New York City this month to present hit songs of the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Gershwin at Carnegie Hall.
Serotonin, the 25-strong a cappella choir, has been invited to perform in the prestigious venue as part of the Distinguished Concerts International New York on Sunday 29 March.
Featuring arrangements and cast members from Pitch Perfect, the event will be conducted and hosted by Deke Sharon, the ‘Godfather’ of the genre.
18-year-old performer Jenna Dearness-Dark has been invited to perform a solo at the event – an achievement she describes as “every artists dream!”
“It’s so exciting to be performing at such a prestigious venue as Carnegie Hall,” says Jenna, who was a finalist two years ago on Channel 9’s The Voice and mentored by Delta Goodrem.
“I really love a cappella as a genre and solos are definitely my thing!” she says.
Busking from the age of 12, Jenna released her first CD at 14 and has this year embarked on a Bachelor of Musical Theatre at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
The young artist has already had a stellar career, having worked with and alongside leading artists such as Marina Prior, Sarah De Bono, Michael McCormic, Suellen Cusack, and Australian Idols such as Guy Mutto, Estelle Poots and Paulini.
“I dream of traveling the world with my music and my favourite thing about life is performing,” she says.
“Looking back, I think my desire to perform was born after I saw the ﬁlm version of Cats the musical, when I was just two years old!”
A love for classical transitions to triple-threat training
Jenna’s mother Lynda will accompany her on this trip of a lifetime and says her daughter had originally planned on studying classical music.
“Jenna was offered places with institutions all over Australia but after meeting Paul Sabey, who leads the Musical Theatre program at the Queensland Conservatorium, she realised it may be her only opportunity to take up this specialised training with such an incredible calibre of experts,” she says.
Queensland Conservatorium is home to Australia’s only Bachelor of Musical Theatre and in just four short years has trained some of the country’s best emerging triple-threat talents who have since performed in leading productions nationwide.
Serotonin Choir Master Jonathan Albertini says the upcoming trip to New York will be an invaluable opportunity for Jenna and for Griffith University to project its reputation on an international platform, while also strengthening the relationship with Deke Sharon.
“The Serotonin choir will be the only choir from Australia included in this prestigious program, so this will send the message that Griffith is leading the way for a cappella singing over this side of the world,” he says.
“A cappella is huge in the US and we are now grasping onto the trend, developing quite a reputation with the Gold Coast community in particular, and paving the way for Australia with the genre.”
Serotonin featuring Jenna Dearness-Dark will perform as part of Total Vocal, at the Distinguished Concerts International New York on Sunday 29 March.
To allow Jenna to get to New York, a host of private and public investors have generously come to her aid with sponsorship, including Layne Beachley Aim For The Stars Foundation, Childs Vision, DPS Property Services and Mr McLean.