Over spring break the LBJ Orchestra took their yearly trip to New York City and were given the chance to play in Carnegie Hall. Along with performing in this prestigious venue, the students also had an extensive tour of the New York area. According to students such as LASA senior Devin Ryan, who went on the trip, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Carnegie Hall was beautiful, and the acoustics were wonderful,” Ryan said. “Playing there was an amazing experience and we sounded really good according to the judges. It was a really great experience, especially since playing at Carnegie Hall is not an opportunity many people will ever get.”

The orchestra played in front of a panel of judges who listened to score their performance. In order to improve their show, a team of directors including the director from MIT was present during rehearsal to give advice that would help boost their score.

“We had an ensemble clinic with the orchestra director from MIT which was very helpful for rehearsing our pieces for Carnegie Hall and doing any more improvements before the competition,” Ryan said.

The orchestra holds a large cross-country trip like this every year, and play at Carnegie Hall once every four years.

“For me, this was my first trip with the LBJ Orchestra, and this was my first school trip that was in a different state so that made it much more new and interesting for me and probably most of the other students in the orchestra,” LASA junior James Oh said. “The orchestra has a tradition of going to New York and performing at Carnegie Hall every four years. This year was our turn to have this experience, so it was pretty exciting to represent the school away from home.”

The LBJ Orchestra toured New York the four days they were there, stopping in many different locations all around the city. They stayed primarily on Manhattan Island, but branched out to different city boroughs over the duration of their stay.

We mostly just toured the main attractions near times square, but we also saw the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island, Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Lincoln Center and The Rockefeller Center,” Oh said.

One of the major stops on the tour was the ‘Top of The Rock’, or the Rockefeller Center, known for its all around views of Manhattan. Students were able to go all the way to the top floor to experience these views.

“We got to go all the way to the top [of 30 Rockefeller Plaza], 70 floors up, to see the whole city. The view from the top of the building was beautiful, and it was cool getting to see how tall all of the buildings are and trying to find where different locations are, like Times Square and Central Park.”

While this trip allowed for many new experiences, the orchestra members were required to pay for this trip on their own. The students were provided chocolates to sell in order to raise money for the trip. While most sold chocolate, Lasa junior Jesus Uresti decided to take a somewhat different, unconventional route to help raise money for his excursion.

I did a lot of busking, which is playing my violin in the streets downtown for donations,” Uresti said. “I was also able to get a lot of help from friends and other organizations who were willing to help send me on this trip.”

According to members of the orchestra, the trip and performance was something that will always be looked upon fondly.

“Having the opportunity to play great music with my best friends from the orchestra really allowed me to see how lucky I am,” Uresti said.