Missouri Musician Makes History After Leading All-Star Choir at Carnegie Hall

by Xara Aziz
Courtesy: Girl Conductor

A St. Louis musician is changing the game for generations to come after it has been announced that she has just made her debut at Carnegie Hall.

So how exactly does one get to that level? Well according to Maria Ellis, it’s “practice, practice, practice.”

“This is what I’ve always wanted to do,” Ellis told 5 On Your Side.

Ellis was just a child when she found that she had a love for music and discovered the beauties and complexities of sound while listening to her church choir.

“[I] learned at a very, very early age that I could hear the different parts,” she recalled. “I just didn’t understand why the people in the choir kept getting their notes wrong.”

Although Ellis was able to point out the error, it wasn’t until she learned how to read music that it dawned on her.

“I had to learn different cords and that different cords had names and things of that nature, and it was hard,” she explained.

As the old saying goes: hard work pays off. To add to her long list of achievements, she currently conducts the All-Star Choir at The Sheldon Concert Hall in the Grand Arts District.

“This choir is made up of students from all over St. Louis,” she said. “They’re so talented.”

Using the motion of her hands, she is able to seamlessly blend their aptitudes and capabilities quite wonderfully.

 “My power’s in my hands,” she said. “It’s just like directing traffic. Everybody has a place where they are supposed to be.”

Ellis is also a trained singer, so she doesn’t hold back in teaching them how to use their voices to the best of their abilities.

“I push hard. I do,” she said. “I push hard. I take music very seriously.”

Consistency has paid off for Ellis, who recently led the All-Star in New York City.

“We are headed to Carnegie Hall,” Ellis concluded. “It’s just a one-day concert. At times, I still feel like I’m in a dream, like it doesn’t feel real.”

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