Westlake orchestra takes New York

At 4:30 a.m. on March 21, orchestra students arrived at the Austin-Bergstrom Airport to board their flights to New York City. The itinerary included such things as the 9/11 Memorial, dinner at Planet Hollywood and a performance at Carnegie Hall as part of a National Band and Orchestra festival.

The performance, paired with a workshop by guest clinician Virginia Allen, was helpful to a lot of students.

“The clinician was so cool,” junior Vishaka Mallya said. “She has great credentials, [and teaches] at Juilliard, but she was doing some kooky exercises. She made one of the orchestras sing a G! It was funny and everyone was complaining, but in the end it was awesome.”

Other students found the performance itself to be a highlight.

“Carnegie Hall was a really good experience,” freshman Tiffany Chung said.”We could see how the other orchestras performed.”

Carnegie Hall has housed some of the biggest classical musicians such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Arturo Toscanini and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

“The performance was a great experience and something I will never forget,” freshman Trisha Mallya said.

The restaurants and activities included shopping in Times Square, visiting the Statue of Liberty, a Broadway show and many other things.

“My favorite activity was just walking around NYC and exploring,” Tiffany said. “My favorite restaurant was the one in Little Italy — they had really good food and the live music was fun.”

The many activities that were planned took up most of the orchestra’s time and energy. The students had two buses that took them almost everywhere, from lunch at Puglias in Little Italy to Broadway.

“My favorite part was riding in the buses,” Vishaka said. ”Man, it was so much fun; everyone was packed into two buses and laughing was inevitable. We couldn’t stop having fun, even when it was 2 in the morning.”