For the better part of two decades, Jerelyn Atchison has been watching her husband perform under the bright lights of the football field while juggling all the behind the scenes tasks of a coach’s wife.
However, the roles will be reversed come Sunday.
While Chuck remains at home in El Reno watching the house and taking care of the pets, Jerelyn will be under the lights of the world-famous Carnegie Hall in the Big Apple.
That’s right, New York City.
“Now I’m on the front lines and I’ve been practicing two hours every day,” said Atchison.
Atchison was set to leave Thanksgiving Day along with her parents, Jerry and Linda Lunsford and 20 other members of Guymon First Baptist Church Choir, which numbers close to 50.
“There are 30 of us going from the choir but several of them like my daughter are going but they are not singing,” said Atchison.
Atchison and the First Baptist Church Choir will be part of the Distinguished Concert Singers International. The choir will join with the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra to perform Sunday (Nov. 25) at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The DCSI is made up of 19 ensembles from the United States and abroad. American groups come from Oklahoma, Indiana, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Minnesota, Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia and Illinois. The international ensembles are from Oatar, Canada, South Africa, Novia Scotia and Hong Kong.
“We will be part of a 600-member choir and it’s a choir that you have to audition for,” said Atchison.
Singing has been a passion of Atchison’s long before she became a coach’s wife. She attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University and studied vocal education and earned a performance major.
“I wanted to sing opera but I ended up marrying a football coach and got into education. So this is literally a dream come true to sing at Carnegie Hall. I’m getting to use my degree in real life and perform with a very big choir,” said Atchison.
The DC Singers will have three practices together, the final coming just before the show. Between the practices will be some time for sightseeing in the Big Apple.
“Our 16-year-old daughter, Allison is going with me and she is getting excited. We are going to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and then they are supposed to have the 9-11 museum open and we are going to tour that before one of our practices.
“That's going to be very emotional and I’m not sure how well we will sing after experiencing that,” said Atchison.
The choir will be singing Handel’s Messiah, but the show is called Messiah Refreshed.
“I'm not sure why they called it that, but it will be the entire Handel cantata which is 53 songs and I will be singing all the choir parts. I will probably sing 30 songs since some of the songs are solos,” said Atchison.
The choir’s performance is one of three events at Carnegie Hall that day.
“We will be kicking off the holiday season at Carneige Hall,” said Atchison.
While she is taking a page from her husband’s playbook with daily practices, including a trip to Guymon, Atchison said she is already feeling some performance jitters.
“I’m a little nervous but I think it’s excited nerves because this is a dream come true,” said Atchison.
According to DCI’s Iris Derke, the event will not be live streamed on the Internet.
“We would love to be able to live stream it, but it costs so much to use Carnegie Hall now and to be able to stream it out would add another layer of expense,” said Derke.