Senior to Perform at Carnegie Hall in February

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Senior to Perform at Carnegie Hall in February

Senior David Thomas will play clarinet in Carnegie Hall Honors Band. Photo by Abbie Cunningham

Senior David Thomas will play clarinet in Carnegie Hall Honors Band. Photo by Abbie Cunningham

Senior David Thomas will play clarinet in Carnegie Hall Honors Band. Photo by Abbie Cunningham

Senior David Thomas will play clarinet in Carnegie Hall Honors Band. Photo by Abbie Cunningham

Abbie Cunningham, Editor in Chief

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The anxiety welled inside of him as the day of his results marched closer and closer. When the dreary October afternoon ticked away, he received the news. His summer of clarinet practice paid off as he stared at the words glowing off his screen: “Congratulations, you’ve been accepted.” The feelings of worry left him as he began to fill with excitement. 

Senior David Thomas placed in the Carnegie Hall Honors Band and will leave for New York on January 30. He will perform at Carnegie Hall on February 2.  

“I feel like this experience will give me the opportunity to see the results of all my efforts for the past years,” Thomas said. “I am beyond excited, and I never would have dreamed of something like this happening. All I wanted to do was make the All-State Band, and I never thought past that.” 

Thomas auditioned in the middle of June; he received his acceptance to the Carnegie Hall Honors Band on October 23 at his weekly jazz practice. He will receive his music sometime soon.

“I’m honestly okay with it being so far away because it gives me time to prepare for the concert,” Thomas said. “I will have to practice and know my music before I go to New York.”

To compete, students must receive a nomination or invite. Since Thomas made the All-State Band, he attained an automatic nomination to audition for the Honors Performance Series.

I feel like this experience will give me the opportunity to see the results of all my efforts for the past years. I am beyond excited, and I never would have dreamed of something like this happening. All I wanted to do was make the All-State Band, and I never thought past that.”

— Senior David Thomas

“I think this is an awesome opportunity to experience what a professional musician might get to do,” Thomas said. “Also, I will get to meet new people and play with one of the top youth bands in the world.”

Student musicians can apply to the Honors Performance Series globally. Competitors could apply to Carnegie Hall in New York or Musikverein in Austria. Although the Sydney Opera House in Australia usually offers their venue for this program, this year they could not due to renovations in progress. Though Thomas considered Musikverein, he ultimately chose to apply to Carnegie Hall. 

I didn’t do the one in Austria because it’d be more expensive, and I’m also planning my senior trip for around that time,” Thomas said. “I chose New York because it fit best with my schedule, and it seems like a great opportunity.

The worldwide contest requires competitors to send their audition online as a recording. Auditions were three to five minutes long. Thomas played the suggested etude and part of a previous solo he learned.

“This opens the world to him and shows colleges and people that he is an available talent,” band director Bill Large said. “College scouts that can financially change his future will be at this event.”

Competitors sent recordings of their songs, an application form, and a performing biography along with payment. These documents furthered the judges’ capability to assess their skills.

“I felt kind of nervous sending in my performance biography because I didn’t know how many competitions other people won,” Thomas said. “I felt that that section might make me seem less appealing to the judges. Applying felt a lot more official than other contests.”

Thomas advanced to state in Solo and Ensemble since freshman year for a clarinet ensemble or clarinet solo; the state trip for Solo and Ensemble happens at the beginning of every summer break at Austin. Last year, he made the All-State Band and traveled to Austin to play in the band over a several day trip. 

“It is truly an honor for both Fairfield High School and myself when a student really grasps the whole concept of music and competition,” Large said. “I hope other students can realize that success means a whole world of fun and glamor for their lives when they work.”

Although Thomas will be the first FHS student to perform at Carnegie Hall, he is not the first to perform in New York. Ten years ago, alumni Taylor Sharpe performed as the guitar player for iHeartRadio his freshman year.

“I can’t think of anybody more deserving than David,” Large said. “David works very hard and makes these changes possible because he’s determined to do it. He is a very exciting young man!”

Since sixth grade, Thomas has participated in the band program. He’s participated in every contest offered through the program.

“This accomplishment is special to me because it’s something that I didn’t expect to win,” Thomas said. “I put all of my effort into it and now I get to experience something not many people experience. It will be a sweet ending to my time at Fairfield High School.”