FGCU Wind Orchestra makes its way to Carnegie Hall in NYC
The FGCU Bower School of Music Wind Orchestra has been formally invited to perform in New York City at Carnegie Hall in the Isaac Stern Auditorium, also known as the Ronald O. Perelman Stage, Nov. 27 as part of a debut series.
In the fall semester of 2006, FGCU accepted its first class of music majors — nine years after the university first opened in 1997. Since then, the Bower School of Music has expanded with students from all around the world, due to the great reputation it upholds every year after performances and involvement from students in its programs. Concerts are held off campus as well as on campus during Eagle Family Weekend every year. Basketball band is one highlight of all basketball games. Members of the band and Kappa Kappa Psi fraternity join together to perform on Fort Myers Beach and dub the name “Beach Band.”
“I am proud that we were selected for this series,” said Rod Chesnutt, the Wind Orchestra conductor and head of instrumental studies at FGCU, in an interview with FGCU360. “We were competing with ensembles from around the country for this coveted spot. It reflects well on the university and on the development of the Bower School of Music & the Arts.”
The auditorium in which the Wind Orchestra
will perform has five levels and seats 2,804 people. It is the hall’s largest performance space and has been presenting world premiere artists since 1891.
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will be the first time a music ensemble from FGCU will perform at Carnegie Hall. It precedes other achievements that reflect the school’s success.
“I’m beyond excited to have the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall,” said Mario Trejo, a senior music education major and French horn player. “We have been challenged to the highest level this semester, especially by scheduling six concerts so far in preparation for this performance. Dr. Chesnutt has been constantly stressing how important this concert is. It is our chance to show what the Bower School of Music is capable of. We will be representing FGCU as well, so we’ve been taking preparations pretty seriously.”
The New York concert will feature “American Fanfare” by James Stephenson, “Dionysiaques” by Florent Schmitt, “Pacem: A Hymn for Peace” by Robert Spittal and “Jug Blues and Fat Pickn’” by Don Freund.
Troy Jones, FGCU assistant director of bands, will guest conduct “Turbulence for Tuba and Winds” by Bruce Broughton.
“I’m excited to visit a place other than Florida,” said Marlina Karimi, a member of the clarinet studio and music education major. “I remember the FMEA tour my freshman
year and how awesome it was to surprise people in the state with how talented we are. Now we can show the nation who we are and pave the way for new experiences.”
Florida Music Education Associations tour was another stepping stone for the Bower School of Music, where the Wind Orchestra shocked many students, band directors and music professors around the state with their performance.
As for the funding of the trip, since the opportunity has educational value for students and enables the university to showcase its finest on a national scale, the FGCU Foundation has earmarked funds to help with the cost of this unbudgeted expense. The foundation also encourages community members to support the orchestra’s trip through a crowd-funding website. A GoFundMe page has been floating around Facebook as well.
“Coming from a background from a small music history and only being a sophomore, this opportunity is incredibly prestigious,” said Nicolas Contreras, a sophomore music education major and member of the Bower School of Music’s clarinet studio. “I have been putting more time aside to practice on music for the ensemble to prepare for this event. I’ve basically put my life on hold because dedication and time is key for this certain situation. Being invited to perform at Carnegie Hall does not happen very often, especially to small schools.”