How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice – or ask a member of the Hayes High School Orchestra. They’ve been there.
Earlier this month, 103 Hayes Orchestra students played Carnegie Hall.
“To perform in Carnegie Hall was an amazing experience for the students,” said Stacy Lemke, Hayes Orchestra Director. “It’s wonderful to see them smile when they hear the ring in the hall when they release their bows from the string.”
The Hayes Orchestra has played Carnegie Hall every four years since 1998. This was the orchestra’s fifth time performing at Carnegie Hall and the Symphony Orchestra and Hayes Players each did a 30-minute performance.
Lemke said the orchestra has an open invitation to perform there every four years, but must send in audition tapes. This arrangement is possible in part because of a relationship formed with World Strides by the former Hayes Choir and Orchestra director Kim Boyd in the 1990s.
This trip allowed the Orchestra students to experience a larger place to play than the Hayes Auditorium, said Lemke.
“Carnegie Hall is one of the most prestigious performance spaces in the world in one of the greatest cities,” she said. “The choir, band and orchestra each go on a trip every four years. It is a great bonding experience for everyone and something the students look forward to for a long time.”
The students left for New York City on Feb. 27 and returned March 3, enjoying the sites of New York, as well as playing at Carnegie Hall. The students visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. They also saw Blue Man Group, a Broadway musical and shopped on Fifth Avenue.
The highlight of the trip was the Orchestra’s night on stage in front of Hayes parents and parents from other schools playing. Hayes shared that evening’s performance with a school from Washington State and a school from Scottsdale, Ariz.
Hayes Orchestra students funded their trip to New York City out of pocket, and were accompanied by parent-chaperones, Lemke, Hayes choir director Dara Gillis and Delaware City Schools music teacher Megan Stallard, who works with students on string instruments.
“It is a truly magical moment the first time you experience that in Carnegie Hall,” Lemke said. “It is something they will always remember and something few people in the world will experience.”