How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Everybody knows the answer is: practice, practice, practice. That's just what the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra has been doing for these past six months in anticipation of its debut at 8:30 p.m. this Sunday at New York City's world-famous Carnegie Hall.
The orchestra has become one of the premier youth orchestras in the state, and the nearly 90 middle and high school musicians work hard to perform the music to the best of their abilities.
Clarence sophomore Allison Eck, who plays clarinet, says: "It can be competitive sometimes, but that's part of the fun. If there wasn't much competition, I probably wouldn't have the same drive to play my best."
Frontier senior Renee Bapst, who plays the flute, agrees, "It makes you work. I've learned about how the music world works."
Even though there can be a competitive atmosphere, most people enjoy being in the GBYO because it gives them a chance to play challenging, world-famous pieces with other top-notch musicians. Oboe-player Sara Scofidio, a sophomore at Williamsville East, says, "It's a lot of fun because you can play good music and create good friendships."
The musicians enjoy working hard toward a common goal and playing exciting pieces that their school orchestras might not get a chance to perform. Frontier sophomore Mike Zuber, who plays bassoon, enjoys "the experience of playing more challenging music than we get to do in school" and being able to "play with some of the best talent in the region."
Williamsville East senior Lauren Yu, who plays bassoon, loves the GBYO because "You get to play and experience great music with other people that love it just as much." All in all, it's a great place to meet people with a common interest and a common goal -- to make music.
The orchestra can't wait to play at Carnegie Hall. At Sunday's concert, it will perform Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italien" and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio Espagnol."
Under Conductor Gerard Floriano the orchestra has played at Lincoln Center in New York City, plays annually at the Martin Luther King Day Celebration in Albany, and has even visited Italy and Spain. This trip, however, will be a first.
Everyone is really excited to play at such a prestigious hall. Violinist Nicole Flammer, a junior at Frontier, says that she's "really excited to play on the same stage as all the great musicians. It's a wonderful opportunity that most people our age don't get a chance to do."
Like all of the performers, violinist Emily Voto, a Nardin freshman, sees it as the chance of a lifetime. "I can't wait. It's always been my dream," she says.
Anne McCabe is a junior at Frontier High School.