More than 250 family members, Viewpoint faculty, and New York-based alumni were in the audience to share in this extraordinary moment that was the culmination of years of dedication to their instruments and to playing with one another.
“What an incredible experience!” said Band Teacher Kim Gonzalez, “Friday morning, we went on a tour of Carnegie Hall, and I think for the first time, the students, and all of us, realized the gravity of what we were about to do. Friday afternoon, the Winds Ensemble walked to Carrol Studios on 55th Street to have a two-hour session with a special clinician, named Brian Worsdale. As we walked to our studio, we could hear professional musicians in another studio practicing. You could feel the energy, and Brian was amazing! Definitely, an inspiring, brilliant musician, and he pulled so much sound out of our students. From the moment of that first rehearsal with Brian to the downbeat onstage, I watched our students realize what they are capable of and truly rise to a level of performance equal to the history of Carnegie Hall.”
When asked about his thoughts on the experience, cellist Daniel K. ’19 said, “It was amazing to think about playing on the same stage as some of the greatest musicians in history. As I was looking at the floor at the all the end-pin holes to place my cello, I thought ‘this hole could have been made by Yo-Yo Ma’s cello!’”
Kristin Herkstroeter, Chair of the Music Department and Strings Teacher, added, “It was just such an honor to be there. For our students to be selected as one of 12 groups to perform this year in one of the world’s best music halls is a dream, and our students truly rose to the occasion.”
Kim added, “It was also amazing to have so many parents, family, friends, and alumni attend the concert and the reception for 270 people at John’s Pizzeria afterwards. Not to mention that our own Head of School, Mark McKee, and his wife Cathy traveled to attend the concert. I know that it gave the students a great deal of encouragement to feel so much support.”
In addition to their performance, their work with the clinicians, and a backstage tour of Carnegie Hall, students had time for a few New York experiences: seeing Wicked on Broadway, dinner at the Hard Rock Café and Ellen’s Stardust Diner, and trips to the American Museum of Natural History and the top of Rockefeller Center. All of the students had a fantastic time, and announced that they were ready to make the trip again next year.
Cellist Brooke B. ’21 summed up the weekend this way: “This was honestly such an amazing trip and performance that we will never forget. Being able to play in Carnegie Hall still sounds insane and we're so lucky to have been a part of this once in a lifetime experience!”