One week after Duxbury student musicians performed for an audience of over 1,600 at Carnegie Hall in New York City, they took a moment to reflect on their trip and an experience none imagined they would have.
Sarah Hansman said playing at Carnegie Hall was unlike any experience she has ever had. Hansman, who has been part of Duxbury’s music program for eight years, said she is just beginning to realize that she has taken the opportunities she has been given through the music program for granted.
“During our performance I actually cried because I was so overwhelmed with not just the greatness of the hall but how lucky I was to be part of a music program like Duxbury’s,” she said. “There was an energy in the hall and a sense of duty to have a great performance. Very few kids can say that they performed at Carnegie Hall as a high school [student].”
During the trip to the Big Apple, the students went to Broadway and took in widely acclaimed Broadway musicals “Wicked” and “Newsies.” They also traveled to the 9/11 memorial and Hansman said she was awed by its significance.
“The Carnegie Hall trip was life changing, and impossible to explain to someone who didn’t experience it,” she said. “I know it will remain a treasured memory for the rest of my life.”
For many students, this performance was one of the last in their high school career. Senior Matt Huang reflected on this point and said he was overcome with gratitude for his music teachers throughout the years.
“I didn’t realize how much I appreciated Duxbury Music and having the opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall until we began playing the introduction to Movement for Rosa,” Huang said. “During the beautiful solos, I had a chance to look around. I saw my friends and realized, as seniors, that this was one of our last big moments together. Lifting my trumpet to begin my first note of the song, I couldn’t help but feel monumental gratitude for having the chance to play in the Wind Ensemble during my high school career.”
Many of the younger play- ers, including 15-year-old Maya Lee, took a moment to step back and understand how unusual it is to have such a monumental experience at such a young age.
“The way the sounds just lingered was truly magical,” Lee said. “I held my breath for every pause and quiet part in the music because I didn’t want to miss anything. This experience is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
As a musician, Kevin Coakley is generally well pre- pared for performances, but he said nothing could have prepared him for playing at Carnegie.
“I am honored to have performed on the same stage as the most respected musicians of the past 120 years,” Coakley said. “Everyone had a veneration for the stage and for Carnegie Hall that made everyone perform at a higher caliber than at our past performances.”
Coakley said he believes the music students “owe a debt of gratitude” to their teachers.
“Playing at such a storied concert hall is a dream for many professional musicians, let alone high school students,” he said. “Through the tireless efforts of our dedicated teachers, we all had an experience that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.”
Looking forward, the Wind Ensemble will perform with the Hope College Wind Ensemble at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on Monday, March 17. Duxbury has also been selected to perform at the Massachusetts Music Educators Conference on Fri- day, March 21 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. Duxbury is the only high school band that was selected to perform. They will also be performing with the professional group, Dallas Brass, that evening.