UW-Whitewater's Symphonic Wind Ensemble practices in Young Auditiroum. The group will perform at Carnegie Hall in an invitation-only event at the prestigious New York Wind Band Festival in February.
When it comes to performance venues, it doesn't get much bigger than this. Student musicians at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater have been invited to play at Carnegie Hall, the prestigious concert auditorium in New York City.
"This opportunity pushes us into the top tier of wind band programs," said Glenn Hayes, conductor and professor of music. "Carnegie Hall is one of the most renowned performance sites in the entire world, especially for classical music. The stage is legendary. I could not be more proud of how students have worked."
These 54 students, who make up the Symphonic Wind Ensemble at UW-Whitewater, will perform Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 8 p.m. as part of the New York Wind Band Festival.
"I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall," said Dominic Gischia, a junior timpanist from Kohler. "This is something that most musicians dream of, and to be able to say that I played there is going to be incredible."
"I can't wait to create music on a stage that has such a rich musical history," said Jennifer Jones, a senior French horn player from Woodstock, Ill. "So many of my musical role models have performed on this stage and now I get the opportunity to perform where they have."
The ensemble's repertoire, which includes several well-rehearsed pieces performed during the fall semester, will also include the world premiere of "If Ever There is Tomorrow," composed by Christian Ellenwood, professor of music.
"His music just moves you. It's gorgeous," Hayes said. "He's written a phenomenal, glorious piece."
Ensemble members share Hayes' excitement in debuting Ellenwood's work.
"Dr. Ellenwood and other professors have opened my eyes to a completely different way of playing and listening to music," said Raquel Bruening, a senior clarinet player from New Berlin. "Their lessons have shaped me into the musician I am today."
About 100 friends and family members are expected to make the trip to New York to watch and listen as UW-Whitewater students perform.
"Our musicians are absolutely thrilled and focused," Hayes said. "They know the responsibility they have. Whenever any group goes and competes or performs, the campus is viewed by the quality of that. We represent the university, and we intend to do an excellent job."
Hayes said 85 to 90 percent of his students will go on to teach music.
"Be it in Carnegie Hall or a high school gymnasium, when you have these kinds of life-affirming musical moments, it's so incredible," he said. "I hope the students will take this and say 'I want my students to experience that someday.' "
Before leaving for New York, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble will hold a concert celebrating its Carnegie performance.
Sunday, Feb. 10
General public - $5
Over 65 - $4
UW-Whitewater students w/ID - $3