Carnegie Hall has hosted some of the greatest and most influential performers in the world. On January 22, our students will join an elite list of musicians, including Billie Holiday, the Beatles, and Johnny Cash, who have graced this venue. Before they take the stage we wanted to share with you how some of them feel about this opportunity:
As a high school senior, I am honored to be performing at the 2017 Festival of the Orchestras at Carnegie Hall. During the preparation concert starting in September 2016, our strings orchestra faced a number of difficulties. Our repertoire for this concert is challenging given the range of grades and skill levels of our players. The first movement of the New World Symphony, for example, is a piece that I would have never dreamed of playing with a high school orchestra. But with the collaboration among all the players, this piece took shape and sounded better with every rehearsal. It was also heartwarming to see the growing enthusiasm that the players had towards creating music, which can be largely attributed to our inspirational conductor Mr. Patricio Diaz. Sitting in the front row of the orchestra, I got to see first-hand how he poured his heart into teaching and directing us, and it is evident from our improvements that his efforts had not gone to waste. With more than four months of practices, rehearsals, and collective work, we are finally near the end of our road to Carnegie Hall, and I am beyond excited to present our achievements to our friends, families, and audiences.
Shuhan Xie T4
I am very excited to go to Carnegie Hall for the first time and have the privilege to be able to play in such a great ensemble. I am very enthusiastic about the pieces that we will play because they all have a different type of style which makes the music we play so much more well rounded. Overall i can't wait to play in Carnegie i'm sure it'll be something i'll remember for my whole life.
Isabella Padasak M4
One of my best experiences ever has been playing with the high school. It is so amazing to think about how they were once just like me. The level of skill that they have and the way they are able to move their fingers. It will end up be an unforgettable experience for us all. It is bringing me closer with people with whom I have not ever spoken with. It will be an amazing, unforgettable experience.
Sofia Khan M4
There was a lot of preparation in the Carnegie experience, many orchestra rehearsals and late nights but it was all worth it when we spend those few minutes onstage of one of the most important stages in the world. Thank you Mr. Diaz for making this happen and giving us some of the most memorable experiences in our lives. Coming together as an orchestra feels great from being a small classroom with only 13 other students. The pieces are great and all have a different vibe which brings out a new mood in everyone. My personal favorite is Dvorak because it is the most upbeat and when we finish playing you can tell that everyone is satisfied.
Monica McMahon M4
My experience so far in preparing for our very important Carnegie Hall performance has been so amazing. I am so grateful to be a part of the UNIS MS and TH violin ensemble. For the past four years of playing violin, I have learned so much about how important it is to stay connected to my body, and be aware of every sound. I have also learned the importance of practice. Because of violin, I have gotten to know so many different people. I have experienced how it feels to play with a small class of 15 students, and compare this to playing with 100+ other students. Our M4 class has become so close, and we have made so many class jokes. I think that the relationships between the players in an ensemble affects how we play, and I think that because our class has become so close, we have learned to connect with each other while playing, which makes our playing so much better. Overall, I have really enjoyed this amazing experience.
Sophie Hafter M4
I am very excited to play at Carnegie hall. The whole experience leading up to this moment has been great and I am very priveleged to be part of such an amazing group. I think Carnegie Hall will be amazing and I want to thank both my teachers for helping me along the way. Overall, I can't wait to finally get up on the stage of Carnegie Hall and play.
Filip Ryan M4
On the first official strings lesson, Mr. Woitun put up a joke on the board. It read, "A man was lost on the street, and asked a cellist for directions. 'How do you get to Carnegie Hall?' The cellist responded, 'Practice.'" That joke set the standards for Carnegie Hall's reputation, a place that I personally have always wanted to visit, although it never occurred to me that I'd be playing there, especially at such a young age. I have heard about this event in the past, but I did not imagine that it applied to us, especially our grade.
What's even more incredible are the songs, because with such a large ensemble it sounds amazing, even professional. I understand that we're given easier parts to embellish the music, and although it's sometimes annoying, I still try to play the part to the best of my ability. It makes me appreciate it when we play harder parts, and I look forward to being able to play them with my friends in such a prestigious location.
Cecilia Villalpando M4
Preparing for Carnegie hall was a very exciting experience. When we first got the music, I was very nervous, we were all wondering how we would be able to learn and perfect 3 pieces in just 5 months with only 2 classes a week. This is not counting all the breaks and days off we had. But I remember at the first rehearsal with the whole ensemble I was blown away by how good the pieces sounded when all the parts were put together. Even though there were frustrating times the final result is great. I think a very important part of being an ensemble is playing together different parts. When I play my part alone at home it doesn't sound good because it sounds incomplete, when I play with the ensemble the music sounds beautiful. This whole experience was very exciting and fun I feel very privileged to get to play at Carnegie hall with amazing string players.
Summer King M4
I'm simply thrilled to be performing at Carnegie Hall. It's one of the most prestigious music halls, and we're very fortunate to be playing there! I'm especially looking forward to the piece by Dvorak. I love how different it can sound in any given measure, as well as the harmonies. It's also really cool to be playing a piece composed by a UNIS alumnus. This will be the first time I've played with such a large group of people, so a lot of things will be new experiences.
Rehearsals have been really productive and engaging. I know the feeling of practicing alone/in class vs. on stage is going to be a lot different, and I'm already kind of nervous. I know that everyone's been working hard (especially the teachers), and playing with UNIS Queens students in rehearsals has been fun! I think everyone got a little more connected through our music, and I know our performance will be rewarding.
I've learned so much throughout our journey, and I'm really looking forward to the concert!
Kristen Meola M4
I think it's incredible that UNIS provides the opportunity for its students to play in one of the most famous stages in the world. I can't wait to play in Carnegie Hall. I've heard excellent things about playing there. Playing with everyone gives me a sense of community that playing by yourself doesn't give you. The entire journey leading up to our performance has been really enjoyable and I'm so grateful to be part of something as incredible as this.
Ayla Agha M4
I'm very excited about playing in Carnegie Hall and the pieces we are playing (such as Dvorak). Though I only became familiar with the pieces this year, I love playing them already. The rehearsal UNIS had yesterday (the 9th of January) was very productive, and I had fun. This coming event has also helped us interact with UNIS Queens, as we see them during rehearsals, opposed to how we only saw them once-a-year before (for camp). I can't wait for Carnegie Hall!
Yumadi Aye M4
To be able to play in an orchestra, to premiere a piece in Carnegie Hall is an amazing opportunity, especially considering the incredible history and music that Carnegie Hall is associated with and known for. It's an ambitious task which requires the input of all of the orchestra. All of this combined with it being my final year at UNIS is providing a uniquely memorable experience.
Dylan Hollings T4