April 24, 2000
The 60-member Symphonic Wind Ensemble from Bothell High School performed recently at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
by Suzanne Beyer, special to the Weekly
"It felt like a dream, not the actual performance," said clarinet player Shauna Aprecio remembering the concert performed by Bothell High School band at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The band had been invited to celebrate 100 years of great music in the famous hall that steel magnate Andrew Carnegie built.
It's been a century since German founder Walter Damrosch performed concerts specifically designed for young audiences at Carnegie Hall. Following in that tradition, on April 16 at 2 p.m., first chair clarinetist Jovon Miller tuned up the Bothell High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Director Matt Hanson took to the podium, filling the historic, red-carpeted Hall with pieces from Wagner, Bernstein, and Holst.
"Bravo!" shouted the mostly New York audience as the band finished playing Holst's "Jupiter" from The Planets. Teary-eyed parents offered a standing ovation and tribute to band director Matt Hanson and his student musicians.
"It was very professional, just great," commented a New Jersey visitor. "Where are they from?" could be heard from one of the first tier boxes.
In a matter of 30 minutes, the Bothell High School band became part of the history of the 108-year-old, multi-tiered concert hall that's heard the likes of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Peter Serkin, and Isaac Stern. Director Hanson showcased this talented group with pieces from the difficult intricacies of Overture to Candide, by Leonard Bernstein, to the slow, melodic sounds of Wagner's "Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral" from the opera Lohengrin.
The students rehearsed in a New York studio several times before their Carnegie debut, preceded by a 3-hour dress rehearsal at the Hall the day before the concert. Percussionist Heidi Corbin proudly exclaimed, "We busted out with the Bothell High School Fight Song at the end of rehearsal!" (an all-time first, we're sure, for Carnegie Hall).
The memorable trip also included a Yankee baseball game, sightseeing, Broadway plays, and a dinner cruise around Manhattan following their ultimate music experience.
The performance program appropriately billed the Bothell High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble as a "select group of 60 students winning numerous awards throughout the Northwest and Canada."
This year marks Matt Hanson's first year as Director of Bothell High bands, and with such a marvelous beginning, what will be his encore!?
Carnegie Hall's missions statement includes the sentence: "To continue to be one of the world's leading institutions in presenting great music, and in promoting education, to bring music to wider audience through educational programs, media technology, and community outreach." Carnegie truly fulfilled its mission on April 16th with memories these Bothell teenagers will carry for a lifetime.