Roswell High School band students Kyler Brown, foreground, and Myles Burd rehearse during class Friday morning. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Carnegie Hall needs no introduction. Musicians around the world dream of playing at the concert venue in New York. Three high school musicians in Roswell have achieved the high honor and will play at Carnegie in February.
Roswell students Myles Brown, Kyler Burd and Corey Stevens were accepted into the High School Honors Performance Series in late October. From Feb. 6-10, they will rehearse and finally play with world-renowned conductors at the venue.
“It feels amazing,” said Burd, 17, a senior at Roswell High. “To be able to do that in high school is not something everyone gets to do.”
Burd plays trumpet and will participate in the orchestra section of the series. RHS junior Brown and Goddard High School senior Stevens will participate in the band. Brown plays percussion and Stevens plays trombone.
The Honors Performance Series was established five years ago and accepts applications from all 50 states as well as Canada and other foreign countries.
According to the series, 7,000 students auditioned this year for slots in the band, orchestra and choir ensembles. Just over 500 applicants were invited to participate.
In the Roswell Independent School District, all three who applied were accepted.
“It’s a definite reflection on the district to have three students apply and three students accepted. It’s not all that often that we see a 100 percent acceptance rate from a specific school or a specific district,” said Series Director Morgan Smith.
This is the first time RISD students have auditioned for the series. RHS Band director Greg Odom described the experience as “glorifying,” calling Carnegie the “pinnacle” of any musical career.
“The fact that they’re going to be performing there is amazing,” he said.
Odom will chaperon the trip, which will also include four choir singers from Carlsbad. Brown and Burd’s mothers also plan to accompany the teenagers.
According to Odom, all three Roswell students plan to go into careers in music.
Brown, who has been playing percussion since fifth grade, said he hopes to study music in college and become a professional musician.
He said of participating in the series, “It would be a great experience and a great way to get into a music college.”
The students rehearsed music for three weeks before sending in audition tapes.
Brown described auditioning as “kind of nerve-wracking,” but said he built confidence over time.
Burd said he is especially excited to play composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovksky’s Symphony no. 4 during the orchestra concert. He said that when Carnegie opened in the late 19th century, Tchaikovsky was the first composer whose music was played there.
“Tchaikovsky will still be played on that stage,” he said.
The students are currently selling raffle tickets to cover trip costs, which Odom pegged at around $1,500 per student. The raffle includes a Kindle Fire HD, a $75 gift certificate to Target and a $50 gift certificate to Chili’s.
The raffle ends Dec. 1, but students will still accept donations through Jan. 14, before their last payments to the series are due.
Odom said those interested in purchasing raffle tickets or donating to the students can contact him at his home by calling 575-885-4980. According to Odom, the district is not permitted to be involved in the students’ fundraising as the activity is not associated with RISD schools.