This past June, our TRYPO musicians finally got to travel to New York on our Conquer Carnegie Tour and attend the French Woods Festival stay-away camp, followed by a performance at Carnegie Hall. While we loved to provide this opportunity for our musicians, it is even better to hear how meaningful the experience was for them after having to wait so long to go because of the pandemic. Wesley, a percussionist in our Young Peoples Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble, writes about his time on the trip and why it meant so much to him.
After the rise of COVID, our plans of Conquering Carnegie Hall were dropped. Everyone was devastated because it’s not every day that one gets invited to perform at one of the most notorious music halls in the United States. However, as society started to get back up and running, we were lucky enough to be invited back. Looking back on this adventure, I have no doubt in my mind that the memories I made will remain with me for as long as I live. This unforgettable trip was separated into two parts: We spent a short stay at French Woods (a sleepaway camp for the performing arts) and our time in Manhattan, where we performed at Carnegie Hall.
At French Woods, there was rarely a dull moment. Despite our rigorous rehearsal schedule, we still had ample time to engage in the camp’s offerings, including its selection of minors (daily activities that we would select in the morning). From rope courses to chainmail, there was enough variety to ensure that everyone always had something to do. Of the three minor spots that were available to us for the two days of our residence, I chose to play badminton, complete the rope-climbing course, and develop basic skills in music production.
Furthermore, the camp even made rehearsal exciting, as we had fun sight-reading sectionals and even some jazz band time with famous trombonist Harry Watters. At the very end of our stay, we had an invigorating performance at the camp’s pavilion, where we got to show off all of our hard work to the other campers. It was an overall amazing atmosphere, and the other campers seemed to be just as excited about our performance as we were.
After our days at French Woods, we got back on our buses and headed off to Manhattan to perform at Carnegie Hall. Once we arrived, we had some time to go sightseeing, in which I saw both Central Park and Times Square. Eventually, evening came, and we had our soundcheck. It was at this point that I truly realized how large the hall really was. The vast expanse made for amazing acoustics, and the music would ring out for many seconds even after we had stopped playing. Not to my surprise, the performance turned out to be just as grand. Of the four youth groups performing that night, TRYPO finished the program, and the feeling of sending off such a massive and dynamic audience is something I will likely never feel anywhere else.
After post-concert compliments and a night of adrenaline-filled sleep, we departed from Manhattan to perform at a local elementary school in Staten Island. Then, after brightening their day and getting them excited about music, we got back on the buses and left for home.
Thanks to the trip’s impeccable planning and itinerary, I will not soon forget TRYPO’s Conquer Carnegie 2022 expedition. The memories made have established this trip as my favorite TRYPO journey, and it excites me to think about where we will go from here. Because of this, I think it is safe to conclude that we did indeed Conquer Carnegie Hall.