HOW DO YOU GET TO CARNEGIE HALL? ASK THE NORTH SHORE MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND
March 9, 2014 -- In a night that they are unlikely to ever forget, the young musicians of the North Shore Middle School Symphonic Band performed before a nearly packed auditorium at Carnegie Hall, on a stage that has been graced by the likes of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and the New York Philharmonic.
Conducted by Middle School Band Director Eric Mordhorst, the band had been preparing since September before taking the stage this past Friday night, in a concert entitled "Best Bands & Choirs International: An Evening of Youth Music," that featured, in addition to the North Shore 7th and 8th graders, two high school bands and two high school choral groups.
Unintimidated by the venue, the North Shore Middle Schoolers strode out onto the stage following two outstanding high school bands, and played masterfully, with the famously wonderful acoustics of the hall doing justice to their performance. They opened with Richard Saucedo's Fanfare for the Third Planet, and then following Brian Balmages Through Courageous Eyes and Ed Huckeby's Septagon, concluded with Robert Scheldon's Ghost Fleet.
Mr. Mordhorst, although no stranger to Carnegie Hall, having performed there as a member of instrumental and choral ensembles, made his conducting debut at the storied venue this past Friday night.
Through participation in the Middle School Symphonic Band, Mr. Mordhorst wrote in the playbill, "students experience the value of excellence in performance, a strong work ethic, and a sense of community and family." "The students performing tonight," he continued, "are the embodiment of these traditions. They are not only hardworking and talented musicians, but wonderful, caring, empathetic young people serving as representatives of North Shore Middle School."
Mr. Mordhorst said that he had come up with the idea of arranging a performance at Carnegie Hall at the end of last school year. "I was looking for something really special to do with the kids," he said, "and I remembered having done a similar event when I was a student teacher. I did some research, and found the company that put this together."
The Band and their teachers made a day out of their trip to the City, arriving at around 1 pm to rehearse, and then ventured off to Planet Hollywood for dinner before the 7 pm performance. More than 300 tickets were sold to North Shore families and friends, and teaching faculty, administrators, and school board members, both current and former, were on hand to watch and listen.
Before the final piece, Mr. Mordhorst spoke briefly to the audience, and referring to his students said, "great moments are only as great as the people that you share them with."
Afterwards, Mr. Mordhorst reflected, "I was immensely impressed by the way my students played in rehearsal and performance, and very proud of the way in which they presented themselves like professionals throughout the day. My students are very dear to me, and they were the ones who made this event so momentous for me. Without their efforts and dedication, it wouldn't have been possible. Watching the awestruck looks on their faces as they walked out on the stage was great, and I'm sure they will remember this for a long time."
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, talent, and, of course, dedicated and supportive teachers.
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