For a group of Jordan High School singers and musicians, the punchline to an old joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall – “practice, practice, practice” – rings true, but they’re also working to raise money for the trip to New York City.

Jordan choir and band students were invited to perform at the storied concert venue in the spring as part of events put on by National Concerts, which brings young musicians from around the country to learn, perform and get feedback from industry professionals.

Southwest Airlines has volunteered to provide airfare vouchers, but students are still hoping to raise about $85,000 to cover hotel stays, music workshops and other expenses, Jordan High Band Director Amanda Chavez said. To help cover that cost, Mayor Rex Richardson and the nonprofit Mayor’s Fund for Long Beach are hosting a benefit concert Thursday, Dec. 14.

The students “are incredibly excited. They have not really stopped talking about anything but Carnegie Hall and the benefit concert,” Chavez said.

“They feel like they’re working toward something and representing something much bigger than themselves.”

Chavez is bringing about 55 to 60 student instrumentalists for the March 12 band and orchestra festival in New York and about 25 choir members will take part in an April 6 concert.

And Chavez just got news that turned what could have been a downer into an even bigger thrill: since two other ensembles scheduled to perform in the festival with Jordan High’s orchestra had to back out of the event, the organizer offered the Long Beach students a headlining slot in an evening concert for the public.

It will be the biggest audience the students have ever performed for, Chavez said, and in a place that’s the farthest many of them have ever ventured from home. Some parents are coming along to support their children, and there will be time for sightseeing as well as some college visits.

“This is a transformational opportunity to inspire future generations of musicians,” Richardson said in a statement encouraging people to buy tickets to the fundraiser.

The LBC to Carnegie Benefit Concert will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Beverly O’Neill Theatre at the Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster here. Anyone who wants to sponsor the benefit concert can contact Karissa Selvester by emailing [email protected] with the subject: Benefit Concert.