Mason high school students head to New York to perform

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

MASON, OH (FOX19) - Mason High School students practiced for their once in a lifetime opportunity on Tuesday night. The MHS juniors and seniors will play at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Friday night.

"I never really ever expected to get this far," said MHS junior Lauren Guarino. "It's really exciting for me."

The teenagers have been practicing for months. They received final word of the performance in September.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to perform in the premier hall in the world!" shared MHS Band Director Bob Bass. "It's always been a dream to give our kids this opportunity."

The school's symphonic band and wind symphony will perform in the Best of the Midwest concert. They're just one of only two schools in the country to do so.

"It was a collaboration between a friend of mine in Illinois," said Bass. "We always wanted to take our kids to perform in the premiere hall in the world. We Hired a publicist, and in a year's time, we get to go there and have a full fledge concert. The kids will play for two hours."

Unfortunately, traveling to the Big Apple takes big money, but Bass said the kids have earned this trip; they've held fundraisers on top of extra practices.

"We've played at Disney," said mom Nina Probel. "At Indianapolis, but I never imagined at New York City."

For many moms and dad, it was tough to let their little ones leave.

Nearly 125 students are participating. The students boarded buses on Tuesday night. They loaded up all of their instruments, sheet music and uniforms. They will arrive on Wednesday morning. Days later, many will be reunited with their family members. More than 350 loved ones will attend the students' performance.

Still, the young musicians are nervous about their big night. Christopher Rueda is one of the section leaders in the band. His biggest fear?

"Well, most of the time it would be don't mess up," said Rueda. "That's important because I sit right in the front."

As for the teenagers' proud parents, many told us that they're not worried at all about sending their babies to the city that never sleeps.

"Not really, because mom is going with them," said dad Luis Rueda.

The concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 4, 2011, in the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. The group will return home on Sunday.

The MHS Symphonic Band will perform three pieces: Frank Ticheli's Fortress; Larry D. Daehn's As Summer Was Just Beginning; and Claude T. Smith's Concert Variations. The Wind Symphony's program will include the following: Ron Nelson's Rocky Point Holiday; Eric Whitacre's The Seal Lullaby; Giuseppie Verdi's La Forza Del Destino Overture; H. Owen Reed's La Fiesta Mexicana and 3. Carnival; and John Astacio's Frenergy. MHS Band Directors Micah Ewing, Avious Jackson, and Bass will conduct, and world-renowned clinician, conductor, and adjudicator James F. Keene will be a guest conductor.

Being invited to perform at Carnegie Hall is just the latest in a long list of awards and accolades that the MHS Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony received. The Symphonic Band consistently receives Superior ratings at OMEA District XIII events and was the 2010 Music in the Parks First Place and Overall Sweepstake Award Recipient. The Wind Symphony also received Superior ratings at the District and State Level OMEA District XII events and participated in the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, the National Concert Band Festival, and the Ohio Music Educators Conference. The band was awarded the Dixie Classic Honor Distinction and the prestigious Sudler Flag of Honor.

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