Buchanan High percussionist to play at Carnegie Hall

A young Valley musician will head to Carnegie Hall in New York this summer.
March 6, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Aaron Grisez is one of 120 students from across the country chosen to perform with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.

"I play basically anything you hit with sticks or mallets or hands," said Grisez.

His love for music first began with the piano well before he learned to read -- but quickly grew to include the marimba after discovering the off-beat instrument in the 6th grade through a youth percussion group call We Got the Beat in Fresno.

"We Got the Beat really opened my mind up musically to how many options there are out there," said Grisez, "I love how many different sounds you can get out of a marimba. It just makes a beautiful tone."

Now the Buchanan High School is headed to Carnegie Hall this summer as one of six percussionists to perform with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. "I was speechless when I got the email so I think this is going to be an out of body experience for me."

To qualify, musicians must be between the ages of 16 and19 and undergo a comprehensive audition process. Those selected for the 120-member orchestra come from 33 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Their program will begin in July with a two week residency at Purchase College in New York where they will be trained by musicians from some of America's finest orchestras -- including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. They will then embark on an eight-city tour where they will perform on some of the biggest stages in the world.

"I just think it will be a great opportunity for him to play over the summer with such great musicians and also to play such great orchestral literature and this is going to set him up for his future really in getting the experience for when he goes on to college," said Heidi Franklin, Buchanan High School Orchestra Director.

Once the experience is over, Grisez hopes to combine his love for music and physics with a double major in college. " I want to share what I found through marimba with the rest of the world."

He is waiting to hear back from schools including Chapman University, Stanford and USC.

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