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LBHS Wind Ensemble plays at Carnegie Hall

The Laguna Beach High School Wind Ensemble was honored to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City on April 1. Under the direction of Jeremy Chung, students played on the main Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage, a renowned venue that has been hosting professional performances since 1891. 

“Very few musicians can say that they performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, where the greatest performers of all time have stood,” said Kenneth Chu, a trumpet player and junior at LBHS. “The whole experience of traveling with the LBHS Wind Ensemble to perform in one of the world’s greatest venues was once-in-a-lifetime.”

LBHS Wind concert

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The LBHS Wind Ensemble takes a bow after their Carnegie Hall performance in New York

LBHS was selected through a nationwide audition process based on recordings and previous programs. “This year’s Carnegie Hall performance has been years in the making,” said Mr. Chung. “This group of seniors started working with me in sixth grade at Thurston Middle School. I’m so proud to say that all of them stayed together through the years and had the opportunity to perform in such a legendary concert hall.” 

When Mr. Chung joined the Laguna Beach Unified School District in 2010, there were only 17 students in the LBHS Band, but his instrumental music classes grew steadily over the years. 

“We just had 75 students perform at Carnegie Hall,” said Chung. “The students all worked extremely hard to make this performance possible, with generous support from parents, administration, and the school district.”

LBHS Wind group

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Mr. Chung began teaching music to this group of high school seniors when they were in 6th grade, and they have continued to play together every year

The trip to New York was a learning experience for the musicians beyond their culminating performance. The day before their concert, the ensemble participated in a private workshop that gave them the opportunity to rehearse, polish their skills, and get advice from Dr. Peter Boonshaft, the nationally recognized music clinician, author, and Professor of Music at Hofstra University, New York. 

During their free time, the students toured famous New York sites such as Central Park, Rockefeller Center, the 9/11 Memorial, and the American Museum of Natural History, and they attended a Broadway musical. The trip offered these young musicians the chance to build group camaraderie. 

Said Chu, “I am very fortunate to be a part of this program. Not only do I have the privilege of pursuing music with some of the most talented and interesting people I have ever met, but the band also provides numerous opportunities to enrich our learning. This trip brought me even closer to my friends in the band through a shared, unforgettable experience.”

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