The Collinsville High School Band had a once-in-a-lifetime experience traveling to play in Carnegie Hall in New York City. Band Director Robert Wright shared the following with CHS staff:
“The trip started with student leaders helping and supporting younger students to gather and check all of their instruments, luggage and uniforms. We then began our journey, which was quickly met with some serious snow.
We were forced to stop in Pennsylvania where we had to separate the group into two different hotels which were 30 minutes apart. Obviously this was extremely frightening for myself and [Assistant Band Director] Ryan Stack, but when we left, the hotel clerks said that they had received multiple compliments from other guests that the students were absolutely wonderful, and they asked that we visit them again soon.The following day we arrived in New York City and took in as much as we could. Students were able to go through the 9/11 museum and memorial, which was very awe inspiring. We also took a dinner cruise around the city and statue of Liberty before heading back to the hotel.
Friday was our big day. The group started off with a clinic from Nicholas Armstrong who is the Artistic Director for the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra. He was highly impressed by our students’ playing abilities, as well as their rehearsal etiquette. He left the clinic by saying, “New Yorkers can be very snotty when it comes to music, but I think you guys will blow them away.”
After the rehearsal, we headed into the city for lunch and sound check at Carnegie. Upon entering the auditorium the students were awe-struck. It was absolutely beautiful, and their playing reflected their emotions of pride for our school.
After dinner was our performance, and it was spectacular. We played for a very large audience, which received us very well. After the performance the audience gave us a standing ovation with no shortage of cheers.
For our final day of the trip, the group went up in the new One World Observatory (the new World Trade Center) for some fantastic views.
They also were able to take part in a lunch with Broadway stars to ask what it takes to make it in the Big Apple. Students were then able to spend some free time with chaperones in the city for shopping and sight-seeing.
We wrapped up the evening with the new Broadway hit musical SpongeBob SquarePants. As you can imagine the students loved it, and the cast was phenomenal. After the performance we departed for home. We arrived at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evening.I wanted to share all of this with you because we could not have done this without your support. Please know that it certainly does not go unnoticed by the staff/personnel. Throughout this trip we were complimented on student behavior, the students performance (many couldn’t believe the caliber of our playing), and our overall composure.Thank you for all you do for our students! I am certainly proud to be a Kahok!”Sincerely,Bobby Wright