Sentinel High School Wind Ensemble headed to Carnegie Hall

Posted at 10:29 AM, Apr 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-05 12:29:28-04

MISSOULA – We headed over to Sentinel High School for this week’s Arts and Education report where the wind ensemble is preparing for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Sentinel High School Wind Ensemble is audition based, comprised of mostly upper-class students who practice together four days a week. So, as you would imagine they are really good.

In fact, they are so good, that the wind ensemble has been chosen to play in New York City at Carnegie Hall next year.

"Last year, we went to a festival in Southern California and had a lot of success which helped build our resume for our kids,” said Sentinel High School Band Director Lewis Nelson.

“So I decided to send a tape into this festival, they only take five high school bands and we were selected as one of the five groups,” he added.

Along with playing at Carnegie Hall, the students will get to work with several musicians from different colleges across the country along with performing an outdoor concert in Central Park. 

Now a trip like this would be a dream come true for most musicians, and when you ask these kids and their teacher how they feel one word seems to come to mind.

"This is an honor for anyone if you get to go play in Carnegie Hall, no matter how old you are and no matter where you live, it’s an honor.  So, I am honored I guess and excited,” said junior Tegan Schaper.

"It’s a pretty big honor honestly if you think about it. Just because of how many people try all of their lives to make it to Carnegie Hall and then we are high schoolers that get to go,” added sophomore Peyton Riska.

Now whether playing in Carnegie Hall or just sitting with friends in the band room, art and music can give these kids opportunities they may not have otherwise been able to experience. And this is the thing that senior Andrew McFarland will miss the most.  

"Most definitely going to miss it.  Tuba is an expensive instrument. So, I can’t afford one. But just being surrounded by kids that just love to play music,” he said.

“It is something else, and I will most definitely miss it when I am gone. I cannot stop playing music — it is just part of my life. When you are a musician in a band you just play – that’s how it is,” McFarland added.

Even though the trip is still one year away, the band is already starting to work on the music they will be playing at Carnegie Hall next March.