Carnegie Hall: Through the Eyes of a Student Performer

Ninth-grader and euphonium player Jack tells us about his performance at Carnegie as part of his WorldStrides Performing Arts program.

When I first arrived at Carnegie Hall, I was amazed by how large, and immaculate the theater was. There were layers upon layers of seating levels, all facing towards one small, white stage. It was at that moment, that I realized how big this opportunity was. I was going to be playing at one of the World’s greatest music halls, for almost 3,000 people, which looked like 3 million people from that little, white stage. I became nervous. What would happen if I cracked while playing the opening line of the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 Finale?

I waited for our time to take the stage in apprehension. When it was time to go, I got in line, and headed into the giant elevator to the stage. As I walked onto the stage, I tried to forget about the crowd, and I pretended that it was just another rehearsal. When Mr. Trinkwald’s arms went up to indicate that he was about to signal the downbeat for the Shostakovich Jazz Waltz Suite No. 2, I felt almost as if I was at the pool, and I was about to jump into the cold water. As his arms went down, I let go of my nerves, buzzed my lips, produced that first note, and then I kept on going.

Everything after that was a blur, but I remember being able to hear myself play, more than I ever could before. When it was all over, I felt a great sense of pride. As my music teacher, Mr. Rutkowski had said, playing at Carnegie Hall is like playing baseball at Yankees Stadium. I had just played a major league gig, with my friends by my side, and it felt great. 

Want that same great feeling for yourself, or your students? Check out our Festival at Carnegie Hall (for bands, choirs, and ensembles) or our Honors Performance Series (for individual performers).

Article written by Jack Brennar

Jack Brennar
Jack is a 9th grader who plays the euphonium. In March 2020, he traveled to Carnegie Hall under the direction of Joe Rutkowski, who’s been taking Great Neck North High School students to Carnegie for 23 years!

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