By Michael Buhler
Four students from Eisenhower and Goddard high schools recently got the opportunity of a lifetime, as the quartet was part of the American High School Honors Performance Band that played onstage at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Feb. 10.
Carson Guinn (clarinet) and Matt Anderson (percussion) represented Eisenhower; Persis Lugalia (flute) and Janelle Garden (alto sax) represented Goddard in the band.
“It was awesome,” Guinn said. “It was amazing.”
Guinn was impressed with the chance to play where so many well-known musicians had played through the years.
“It was amazing because you know that there have been famous musicians that have played there for a very long time,” Guinn said. “It was awesome sitting on that stage and playing where so many greats have played.”
Meanwhile, Anderson was excited to share the same stage that many of his musical heroes also had played on.
“It was kind of amazing,” Anderson said. “It was amazing seeing all the names of those who had played there who had inspired me. The concert hall itself is spectacular. It’s pretty awesome to say the least.”
Garden also was impressed with the band’s dedication.
“Every moment they rehearsed was incredible, as was the dedication everybody in the group had,” Garden said. “Just going out on stage and taking it in was incredible.”
However, Garden did find Carnegie Hall awe-inspiring.
“Obviously the prestige and just knowing that this was such an elite deal was constantly going through my mind,” Garden said. “It was a lot more formal and a lot more focused.”
Another exciting part of the experience was meeting people from across the nation and around the world.
“I met a guy from Qatar,” Guinn said. “We were with some really good musicians which made being in the band all the more exciting.”
Anderson was pleased to meet others like him from all over the United States.
“I didn’t meet same people that she did because I was hanging out with the percussionists,” Anderson said. “I met a lot of high school kids from all over America. It was cool to see there were a lot of people there like me from all over.”
While Garden enjoyed the trip to New York, it isn’t home.
“I’d say it is a good place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to actually live there,” Garden said. “I got to see Wicked and that was exciting, but I probably wouldn’t want to live there.”
Goddard High School band director Dane Danielsen was pleased to see two of his students on stage at Carnegie Hall.
“It is a unique experience,” Danielsen said. “Goddard has kind of had a history of putting out top-flight musicians. It’s good to get a junior and a senior in the same group, and Tommy Stoler as an alternate. To get two with one as an alternate, that’s establishing themselves as strong musicians and an achievement on its own.”
Eisenhower band director Marla Weber was quick to credit her students for making it to the big stage.
“It was an incredible opportunity, but it has nothing to do with me – it has everything to do with them,” Weber said. “I was very happy to see therm perform on stage in that setting. They had a good time and enjoyed themselves.”