"I think if there was one place in the world I'd want to waive my arms on a stage, it would be Carnegie Hall," said FCC band director Dale Engstrom.
Monday afternoon, the nearly 60 student ensemble played a couple of epic tunes to mark the out-of-this-world adventure, the theme songs to the 'Indiana Jones' and 'Star Wars' films, and they did it without missing a beat.
"Really excited," said clarinet player Joseph Archuleta. "Carnegie Hall is literally the Super Bowl for musicians so to have an opportunity to play there is just one-in-a-million. There's professional musicians that haven't even played there, that have always dreamed of it, so to be asked is really cool."
The band was personally invited to perform at the "Evening Gala Concert" Arpril 7 – April 13, by Dr. Lawrence R. Sutherland, the artistic director for the New York International Music Festival. FCC will be the featured ensemble and will perform in front of other musical groups from around the world, including a band from Korea. In addition to its performance at Carnegie Hall, it will perform an outdoor concert in New York's Central Park.
I myself have been putting in 5-10 hours of work for Carnegie Hall, outside of our rehearsals, just to improve myself and to help the ensemble," said trumpet player Jason Cruz. "Lots and lots of practice and lots of working through different music to make sure we're ready to play such a big concert."
For some, it will be the first time travelling outside of California to perform on a big stage.
"What's nice is we're going to see all these other bands that we wouldn't have a lot of opportunity to see," said Cruz. "The night before us, Virginia Tech will have their wind ensemble perform."
The band will need some help funding its trip to the Big Apple. Engstrom estimates the ensemble will need to raise around $100,000. He said, so far it's about a quarter of the way in reaching its goal and students are spending time outside of classes and rehearsals to raise money for their expenses.
"They're doing all kinds of things. Everything from selling cupcakes, to car washes and holding recitals," he said. "Any way they can make money to reach this trip."
He said the biggest fundraising effort will be a benefit concert on Saturday, December 8th in the Old Administration Building Auditorium. The evening will begin with a silent auction and social hour at 6:30 p.m. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 VIP and $20 for general admission. The $50 VIP ticket includes reserved seating and two drink tickets.
The venue seats around 600 people and the band said it's hoping to sell out.
"We're going to put on a show for them how we would for Carnegie Hall so they're not going to get anything short of what we're going to do in New York. We've been working really hard, prepping the music and so they are going to hear really good music from really amazing musicians."
Benefit Concert for Carnegie with Silent Auction
Saturday, December 8th
Old Admin Building Auditorium @ Fresno City College