By Jillian Haguisan
Carnegie Hall, built in 1891 in Manhattan, New York City, can seat over 2,800 people in five levels in the main auditorium. Known for its elegance and size, it is considered to be one of the most prestigious concert halls in the world. Numerous singers and musicians have played at Carnegie Hall, and on April 19th, 2018, the Oyster Bay High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mr. Matthew Sisia, was added to the list of performers.
The OBHS Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band members played together at Best Bands, Choirs, & Orchestras International, resulting in over 120 students from grades 9-12 performing. This was actually the third time that OBHS bands have played at Carnegie Hall; past performances were in 2010 and 2014.
OBHS was the first ensemble to perform in the program this year. The band played “American Riversongs” by Pierre LaPlante, which was guest conducted by Mr. Michael Giannetta, “Pageant” by Vincent Persichetti, “Children’s March” by Percy Grainger, and “A Musical Toast” by Leonard Bernstein as the final piece. Near the end of “A Musical Toast,” the OBHS band proudly chanted “OYSTER BAY HIGH SCHOOL” toward the audience before concluding the performance.
Both bands rehearsed for over half a year to perfect their repertoire--the Symphonic Band during 3rd period and the Wind Ensemble during 9th period. Occasionally there were combined rehearsals after-school from 6:30-8:30 pm.
John Tiberia, a trumpet player in the Symphonic Band, commented, ¨I thought it was awesome. Also rigorous, but I was happy with our rehearsals since they prepared us for such an amazing performance.”
On the day of their performance, the band students attended their first period class before gathering in the auditorium at 9:16 am. There, they rehearsed for an hour before the buses arrived. The musicians finally departed the high school around 11:00 am and arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe, located on Broadway, approximately two hours later. There, they ate lunch and socialized. Afterwards, the ensemble was dropped off at Carnegie Hall, where they had a sound check before returning to their holding room.
“Carnegie Hall was an awesome place,” said Brianna Baugh, a clarinetist in the Symphonic Band. “Aside from the holding room’s small size and the confusing backstage area, the place was beautiful and fun to walk around… The Hard Rock Cafe was a nice touch to the experience, and I liked being in the holding room with the combined ensemble, which let us socialize.”
Students and the accompanying staff were given boxed lunches, and they were allowed to eat and chat for an hour before going back on stage to begin the concert.
Despite the stressful and long journey to Carnegie Hall, it all paid off in the end. Every student that played at the prestigious concert hall would agree that it was a wonderful experience. We, the band, dedicated months of hard work, and now that it is over, we can finally say: we did a good job!