Director Doug Elmore says the stage at New York’s Carnegie Hall practically glows, which prompted some of his Floyd Central High School Orchestra students to stop and gape as they made their way to their seats.
But these students weren’t simply attending a concert.
They were the performers.
“It’s such a mythic place, and it has this iconic status amongst musicians — I mean, everyone talks about someday playing in Carnegie Hall,” Elmore says. “They don’t even say a place ‘like’ Carnegie Hall because there is no place like it.”
On June 13, the Floyd County, Indiana high school orchestra performed there as part of the Symphonic Series, featuring outstanding school music ensembles.
“It was an interesting situation that we were in because we had just finished performing a really intense program of symphony orchestra music with our wind and strings together for the Indiana Music Festival,” Elmore says. “The minute that was over, though, we had to lay that music aside and learn this program of string orchestra music.”
Elmore, who’s been teaching music for 30 years, says the 73-member group performed a program of music by Sibelius, Brahms, Hovhaness, Tchaikovsky and Bloch.
“For them to finally actually get to walk out on stage, sit down and perform there, was just a stunning experience,” he says. “I’m a 52-year-old jaded adult, and it still took my breath away walking into there.”
The orchestra also participated in a rehearsal clinic led by Larry Livingston, director of the instrumental conducting program at the University of Southern California.
In addition to Floyd Central’s orchestra, the Symphonic Series at Carnegie Hall featured groups from 14 states and Norway. The orchestra returned home Tuesday afternoon.