Three of St. John’s outstanding orchestral musicians have brought their talents to New York’s famous Carnegie Hall, one of the world’s most eminent music venues, where they were selected to perform for the 2020 High School Honors Performance Series. From January 30 to February 3, the following St. John’s students visited and performed in New York for this once-in-a-lifetime experience:
9th Grade Mark Wang (High School Honors String Orchestra)
9th Grade Elizabeth Chen (High School Honors String Orchestra)
10th Grade Ashley Yang (High School Honors Symphony Orchestra)
These finalists were selected among the top high school performers around the world. They had the opportunity to rehearse and perform under the direction of master conductors, meet other like-minded musicians from around the world and experience the best of the sights and performing arts in New York City.
Prior to the performance concert on February 2, the student performers spent two full days in rehearsals. The conductors were able to ameliorate their musical skills and teach them how to correctly play their pieces. High school sophomore, Ashley stated, “It was really good to see everyone practicing hard with their own part and making great contributions to the overall symphony. No one neglected their part in the music, and everyone was happy to be there practicing and performing with other talented musicians.”
The high school students were able to mingle and learn from their peers who share the same passion for music. Elizabeth Chen said she enjoyed getting to know other musical cohorts. “I get very nervous around new people but I’m glad I got to know and befriend everyone in my group!”
Not only did the students enjoyed performing at Carnegie Hall and meeting other rising musicians, but they also enjoyed everything that the Big Apple had to offer – from strolling through Central Park, taking in the lights of Times Square, climbing to the top of Rockefeller Center, watching famous Broadway shows, or being captivated by the view of New York City from the Hudson River. “It was honestly an experience that was better than what I was expecting,” exclaimed freshman, Mark.
Elizabeth and Mark performed for the High School Honors String Orchestra, under the guidance of Douglas P. Droste, Artistic Director of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Director of Orchestras at Ball State University, and Conductor of the Music for All Summer Symposium Youth Orchestra. Angela Woo, Director of Instrumental Music and Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica, headed the High School Honors Symphony Orchestra which Ashley was a part of.
The Honors Performance Series had broadened the students’ musical horizons and inspired them to nurture their passion even more. “I really hope I can play in the pit orchestra for Broadway one day,” mentioned Elizabeth.
The selected students were accompanied by St. John’s music teacher, Mrs. Ludy Ko.