The McIntosh Symphonic Strings from Peachtree City recently experienced the excitement of performing on the main stage at historic Carnegie Hall in New York last month. The high school group performed three works on Apr. 19 as the Prelude Showcase for the Masterworks Choral Festival featuring the New York City Chamber Orchestra.
For many of the students, this was their first opportunity to see New York. Their days were packed with activities, including visits to Staten Island, Rockefeller Center, Soho, Central Park, Chinatown, various Broadway shows and Times Square. They were also led in a workshop by a professor from The Juillard School the day of their performance.
The students agreed it was a thrill to see their photograph on the poster outside the hall on the day of the performance. They played three selections, starting with the first movement of Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony entitled, “Boisterous Bourree.” The second work performed was “Elegy for String Orchestra” by McIntosh Orchestra director, James C. Hagberg. Originally scored for large orchestra in 2002, Elegy has been performed in several states. Many in the audience commented that it was their favorite performance of the evening. The prelude concluded with the final movement of Tschaikowsky’s Serenade for Strings.
Students held a variety of fundraisers throughout the year , including a benefit concert, performance nights, and bake sales to raise money for their journey.
Their accomplishments were honored during a recent awards dinner for the combined McIntosh Orchestras. Included among 25 graduating seniors this year is Martine Van Voorthuysen, concert mistress and first violin, who has been awarded a full scholarship to Emory University. Also graduating is Drew Forde, first viola, who has been awarded a full scholarship to Mercer University and plans to study music. Drew was enthusiastic about the entire experience, saying, “It was the best trip of my life.”
Hagberg spoke about his experience in New York and expressed his admiration for the dedication and hard work of his students. He also noted that it was a joy to conduct and to have his original work performed at Carnegie Hall. He remarked that it had the most amazing acoustics and astounding resonance of any venue in which he has performed.
Students and parents also recognized the extraordinary fundraising and organizing efforts of the parent volunteers, including Maao Kim, MHS Orchestra Boosters President and Lisa Chambless, Chairperson for the NYC trip.