Carnegie Hall here we come!
On Friday, March 24, the Purdue Symphonic Band takes off on the adventure of a lifetime, a New York City trip culminating in a performance at one of the world's most prestigious venues - Carnegie Hall. Seventy-three students are packing their instruments, their cameras, and trying to check their nerves at curbside for this momentous trip.
“It's been a dream of mine since I was five years old to play in Carnegie Hall,” says sophomore Chelsea Gilbert, a flutist from Lafayette . “Am I nervous? No. Excited, yes. The band is sounding very good right now, I imagine that in that hall it will sound amazing,” says Dan Campbell, senior trombone player from Mishawaka .
The magical Carnegie Hall moment will happen at 8 p.m. Monday, March 27, when the Purdue Symphonic Band and the Wind Ensemble from Old Dominion University in Norfolk , VA , will be showcased at a special concert culminating the 2006 New York Wind Band Festival.
At that moment, bassoonist Whitney Jackson, a graduate student from Indianapolis knows what will happen: “ I think that the group, as a whole, will be more prepared, sit up straighter, execute each note more precisely to Jay Gephart's every move, and be more focused than they have ever been before at a performance and possibly in their life. There is always something magical about being in a band that plays beautifully as one instrument, when everything falls into place just right, and it is at opportunities like this when you know it will happen.”
As Gilbert, Campbell and Jackson back their bags, here's what they're looking forward to in New York City :
1. What's the most important thing to take on this trip besides your instrument?
A camera to capture all of the awesome sites and adventures that are in NYC…and my toothbrush…Whitney Jackson
My ipod and my camera. I can't go anywhere without music in my ears, plus it's going to be a long 15 hour bus ride...I need something to listen to. As for my camera, I want to record every second of this dream come true…Chelsea Gilbert
A camera to document the good times that I will undoubtedly have…Dan Campbell
2. If you haven't been to NYC before, do you have a stereotype of the city you want to prove or disprove?
Hahaha, yeah I do have a stereotype. Every time I've been in the north east everyone was loud, rude, and obnoxious. I hope when I go there that people are nice and considerate of the fact that I don't understand their busy way of life….Chelsea Gilbert
If you have visited NYC, what did you find most fascinating or repulsive about it?
Times Square at night is a must-see! Every little restaurant or store that you are familiar with in Indiana is there, but with thousands of flashing lights all around it. I also once almost got run over by a bicycle that fit eight people in a circle on it at Times Square…Whitney Jackson
It's fascinating that so many people of so many different backgrounds can live together in relative harmony….Dan Campbell
3. If you could only do one thing in New York (besides Carnegie) what would it be?
Go to a Broadway musical, which we WILL be doing!... Whitney Jackson ( The group will see the “ 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”)
Hit up the Blue Note….Dan Campbell (The Blue Note is a legendary New York City jazz club, Dan also plays in Purdue Jazz Band)
Oh man, so many things, but so far the top one on my list is to visit ground zero. I think America has forgotten about 9/11 which is unfortunate because we shouldn't ever forget about our fallen heroes. It will remind me that freedom has a price sometimes….Chelsea Gilbert
4. Is there one food or restaurant you have to hit in NYC?
Definitely have to get some of that New York Style pizza! A great place just across the river in Brooklyn is a little hole in the wall that has been there forever called Grimaldi's Pizza. It is at 19 Old Fulton Street . The line to get in extends down the street and you may have to wait an hour or so, but it is worth it! And afterwards, you can walk down the street a little further, grab some frozen custard, and gaze across the river at a beautiful Manhattan ….Whitney Jackson
There are actually a lot I'd love to go to, but I'm not exactly famous enough to get into any of them. However, I would love to eat at Houston 's, and one of those cool hot dog stands….Chelsea Gilbert
Definitely Italian….Dan Campbell
5. What does it mean to be able to say “I've performed at Carnegie Hall?”
It means music is so passionate and emotional to me, that all the hard work I've done in the past has paid off because I get to play on the stage where all the greatest musicians have played….Chelsea Gilbert
It means that you have been placed in an elite group that includes many of the top musicians in the world who have also had this opportunity that every other musician dreams of…Whitney Jackson
It means that I've had some amazing experiences in my life….Dan Campbell
6. Do you anticipate you will be more nervous than usual to perform at Carnegie,
Or just what emotions do you think will surge through you …or the group?
I think that the group, as a whole, will be more prepared, sit up straighter, execute each note more precisely to Jay's every move, and be more focused than they have ever been before at a performance and possibly in their life. There is always something magical about being in a band that plays beautifully as one instrument, when everything falls into place just right, and it is at opportunities like this when you know it will happen. As for myself, you better believe I will be nervous! Whitney Jackson
I used to have a huge problem with getting nervous in front of anyone when I played. However, I've grown a lot over the years. I've realized that my talents are a God-given gift and that music is a way of reaching to people. I shouldn't be afraid to share a gift with anyone. I'll be so excited to play, I just want to show people what we can do….Chelsea Gilbert
Nervous? No. Excited, yes. The band is sounding very good right now, I imagine that in that hall it will sound amazing and I will feel pure joy just listening to the music that we will be making….Dan Campbell
7. Does the fact that you're not pursuing a career in music (and Purdue does not have a music school) make the Carnegie Hall experience more special? Explain.
Yes, definitely…because it is a career thing. If you are a music major, playing in Carnegie Hall might mark one of the heights or highlights of your career, and not being a music major extremely reduces your chances of ever getting to play on that stage. I had never believed that I would ever have this opportunity, but Purdue Bands has made it a reality! Whitney Jackson
This is a HUGE deal to me. I mean people that are pursuing a music career have a lot of opportunities for things like this, but for us I believe it's once in a lifetime. I also think that it's more amazing because music is so special to us that we make time to play and work hard. Keep in mind we're all full time students working for our degrees and we also find time to put music in there. It means that we can make it to. Even if we aren't music majors….Chelsea Gilbert
8. Please share anything else that makes this trip particularly exciting for you!
I feel really blessed that we have gotten this opportunity. It's been a dream of mine since I was five years old and playing the piano to play in Carnegie Hall. I can't wait to experience playing on the stage with all the greats…Chelsea Gilbert
I really excited about the timing of this trip, because I'm old enough to enjoy the night life that NYC has to offer, like the jazz and comedy clubs. I'm hoping to get a chance to see as much as the city while we are there….Dan Campbell
Having my family and friends there share it with me!... Whitney Jackson