Three of St. John’s finest musicians were selected to perform at the 2019 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall, one of the most prestigious venues in the world for both classical and popular music. From February 7th to 11th, the following St. John’s students visited and performed in New York for this once-in-a-lifetime experience:
9th Grade Felix Gong (Honors Band)
10th Grade Denise Sarmiento (Honors Women’s Choir)
12th Grade Nithya Narayanaswamy (Honors Women’s Choir)
These selected finalists had the opportunity to rehearse and perform under the direction of renowned conductors, meet other like-minded musicians from around the world and experience the best of the sights and performing arts in New York City.
“The High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall is an experience I will never forget”, said high school sophomore, Denise Sarmiento. She added, “It consisted of well-deserved finalists and high educated conductors who helped us all give an extraordinary performance.” She mentioned that she learned many new things that will definitely help her aspiring pursuit in music. “I also benefited from making new friends and interacting with other students from all over the world”, stated Denise.
High school freshman, Felix Gong who was part of the Honors Band ensemble cited that the experience was truly humbling because of how talented his peers were. “I will forever cherish the memory of performing at Carnegie Hall because the acoustics and the hall was simply amazing. I’ve learned several techniques during the trip, but I also learned how to merge with different ensembles,” said Felix.
Nithya Narayanaswamy was grateful to be part of the experience and thanked Mr. Norman Babia (St. John’s School Music Director) and Mrs. Arlene Chua (St. John’s Glee Club Advisor) for their guidance. According to the high school senior, “Our trip was quite a whirlwind. We had 8-hour rehearsals for 2 days, and were set to perform in Carnegie Hall on the evening of February 10th.” She further shared that standing on stage was at first quite intimidating because of the legacy of talent and history the stage had served witness to, but the energy and excitement in anticipation of the performance soon took over.
Under the guidance of Dr. Jessica Nápoles, Associate Professor of Choral Music Education and Conductor of the Concert Choir at the University of North Texas, Nithya and Denise performed for the High School Honors Women’s Choir. Ms. Shanon Levery, Music Director of the Downey Symphony Orchestra, headed the High School Honors Band which Felix was a part of.
The selected students were accompanied by St. John’s music teacher, Mrs. Ludy Ko.