• Blue Springs South represented at Carnegie Hall

  • Even though Johnny Rotolo has played at Carnegie Hall before, the experience is something he can only describe as “breathtaking.”

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  • Even though Johnny Rotolo has played at Carnegie Hall before, the experience is something he can only describe as “breathtaking.”
    “It was such a great experience last year to perform in that amazing hall that I wanted to do it again,” said the senior at Blue Springs South. “There is just something about that hall, the history that is there. It is so high in the music world that it is really amazing to be able to play there.”
    Rotolo, who was joined this year with Blue Springs South junior Emily Reece, was selected for the 2012 American High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. Both Rotolo and Reece played the trumpet in the Honors Band, which is limited to the highest rated high school performers from throughout the United States and selected international schools.
    Doug Padget, Blue Springs South band director, nominated the two. They then had to prepare a recorded audition to send to the committee along with an application.
    “I knew that Johnny had went last year, and he was reaching out to everyone to get them to audition,” Reece said. “I was so excited when I got the letter saying I was selected that I was ready to start packing. To have someone else recognize the talent you have makes you feel really great inside.”
    Rotolo and Reece were in New York City in February. The five-day program included rehearsals every day with guest conductors including H. Robert Reynolds, the principal conductor at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. They also had the opportunity to do some sightseeing, including time in Central Park and at the Broadway musical “Wicked.” At the end of the week, the Honors Band was joined by the Honors Orchestra and Honors Choir for a concert at Carnegie Hall.
    “Stepping on stage for the first time stops your breath,” Reece said. “You look around at all the seats that will be filled with people listening to you. It is such an intense feeling.”
    Rotolo said the music the honor band plays is at such a high difficulty that he believes he will be better prepared for collegiate performances next fall. He plans to major in music education at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
    “I have learned a lot about music through the (American High School Honors Performance Series), and I think that will put me ahead gong into college,” he said. “I have learned a lot from music. It has given me a way to communicate and express my feelings. It has truly changed my life, and it would be nice to assist others in changing their lives through music.”
    Reece said going into her senior year, she wants to convince others to take this same opportunity she was given. She said having the chance to perform with the best high school musicians from throughout the country has taught her a lot about becoming a better musician.
    Page 2 of 2 - “There are a lot more components to this music. One of the pieces there has everyone going on at once, and it was hard to concentrate what we were doing at times,” she said. “I feel like I am more prepared (for senior year). I have tackled harder music than our band has ever thought about playing, and I think the experience has put me ahead in terms of music and rehearsal techniques. It (auditioning) was one of the best choice I have ever made.”

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