By Gretchen Wehmhoff

Adalia Deach and Tatum Sager aren’t just great singers, they are among the best in Alaska.

Deach and Sager returned from New York City this month, after performing with the Honor Performance Series (HPS) at Carnegie Hall. The series is produced by WorldStrides.

In order to get to New York, the girls first had to get to State.  

Seeking the help of their former music instructor, Cindy Rau, the girls practiced and prepared audition files for the Alaska State Choir. This involved technical music and new genres.

“Cindy was incredible. We couldn’t have done it without her,” Sager said.

In preparation for the Carnegie Hall trip, they had to learn to sing in an Italian style, almost operatic. The pair spent most of September online with Rau, working on both the audition music, Caro Mio Ben, as well as music set for performance.

“It was a gorgeous song. It was super taxing, and I had COVID at the time,” Sager said.

“They had to work really hard to sing Italian in a new style,” Rau said.

Rau said Deach was the top alto, first chair, in State in 2021.

When the girls auditioned for HPS, the original invitation included the option to perform at Carnegie Hall or Sydney, Australia or both. Sager chose New York, Deach chose both. In the end, Australia was out of the running due to the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Sager described Carnegie Hall as being detailed with photos of famous people who had performed.

“John Lennon performed on the same stage and the acoustics are beautiful — they pierced my eyes,” she said.

Because Rau is a distinguished music teacher, she was invited to attend the concert in New York. She chose to stay in Alaska due to personal home construction conflicts. The girls headed to New York with their families.

Sager had family on the East Coast in addition to her family from Skagway at the concert. 

“It was a real emotional experience for me having my family there watching us sing,” Sager said.

“Adalia and I came through this journey together. We are so grateful for Skagway, with the community coming together to make this happen.”

“It was a dream come true — literally surreal,” said Sager.

“I’m so proud of them. They had to work hard. I’m a very proud music teacher,” Rau concluded.