NEW YORK — On March 15, three present and former Winters residents were blessed with a thrill of a lifetime — to perform at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City.

NEW YORK — On March 15, three present and former Winters residents were blessed with a thrill of a lifetime — to perform at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Jeff Mills, his daughter Kathleen and Sean Mooney performed with the McMurry Chanters Choir and the McMurry Wind Ensemble.

Both groups, were selected via a recording last fall to perform during this onenight event. The McMurry concert band, the Wind Ensemble, is directed by Dr. David Robinson, director of bands.

Robinson is in his fifth year at McMurry made his second appearance at Carnegie Hall.

The Chanters are directed by Dr. David Wallis, director of choral activities. Wallis is currently the chair of the music department and has been with McMurry for eight years. This was the second ensemble he has brought to Carnegie Hall.

All three of the performers have ties to Winters — Jeff Mills and his daughter Kathleen Mills both performed with McMurry Chanters and Mooney, who plays trombone, performed with the Wind Ensemble.

They all performed on the Ronald O. Perelman Stage in Isaac Stern Auditorium in Carnegie Hall, which has been in use since 1891. The group which included about 70 musicians, both from Chanters and the McMurry Wind Ensemble, performed during spring break week.

“This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” said Mooney, 18, a psychology major at McMurry and the son of Winters band directors Phil and Karen Mooney. “I hope to be able to perform there again in my lifetime.”

In November, after the groups were invited to perform, Chanters alumni were invited to perform, which included Jeff and Kathleen Mills.

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Jeff Mills, who teaches at Winters High School and is the choir director at the First Methodist Church in Winters. “Carnegie Hall is fully open and that meant the choir could be along the back wall it is acoustically amazing. When you think of all of the famous musicians who have performed on that stage it is phenomenal.”

Jeff, 58, is a Chanters legacy — his mother and father Kenneth and Clarice Mills met while in the Chanters Choir in 1955 at McMurry. He sang in the Chanters Choir while in college and his daughter, Kathleen, a 2010 graduate of Winters High School performed with the McMurry Chanters while attending there — she graduated in 2014 and now is an elementary teacher in Snyder.

“It was a wonderful experience,” she said. The band and choral group each performed two selections, performed together for Dan Forrest’s arrangement of the Reformation hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Wallis wrote a piece titled “Enter the Gates” specifically for this trip and based on 2 Samuel 6. The other choral selection was “My Eternal King” by SMU graduate Jane Marshall.

The performance was particularly special to Jeff Mills and his daughter. His wife, and Kathleen’s mother Karen Mills, a beloved elementary teacher in Winters, passed away on February 8, just a day before the Chanters and Wind Ensemble combined rehearsals started.

“I know we went there with my wife’s blessing,” said Jeff Mills.

The McMurry band and choir programs were established in 1923, and will celebrate their 95th anniversaries along with McMurry University in 2018.

Located in midtown Manhattan, Carnegie Hall is home to three performing spaces. Opened in 1891, the venue is one of the most prestigious concert locations in the world and has hosted more than 46,000 performances. Carnegie Hall was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1962.