KAIMUKI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 70 Kaimuki Middle School students have been invited to perform at one of the most prestigious and iconic venues -- Carnegie Hall!
According to campus officials, while high school and older students are routinely invited to perform -- this is the first time a middle school from Hawai'i has been recognized in this way!
There's no doubt students in the Kaimuki Middle School Symphonic Winds group understand what a privilege it is to play at New York City's premiere concert venue.
"It's an honor because Carnegie Hall is a very, very important place for music and it's really cool to be able to play there," said Hailey Sakuda, a trombone player.
Of the roughly thousand students on campus, officials say nearly 650 of them are enrolled in the music program -- which includes chorus and ukulele, along with strings and band.
"I'm just so proud to be the principal at this school. I'm so proud of our school and our student body in general, but in particular our music program. Because through the years, that tradition of excellence is very warming to my heart," said principal Frank Fernandes.
It's a love the keiki clearly share -- even when the stakes have been raised.
"The one that means the most to me is "Where Never Lark or Eagle Flew" because it like changes the moods from brilliant and energetic to a slow, warm sounding music. It's really beautiful," said David Kimura, a trumpet player, describing his favorite piece they'll be performing. The set list also includes "Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song".
The students have been getting ready for the biggest stage they'll face yet, almost every school day for the past two months.
"I feel like it is a lot of pressure, but I think we can do it and we've been practicing a lot so we can do it," said Sydney Griffiths, an alto saxophone player.
Music Director Susan Ochi-Onishi calls the student's debut at Carnegie Hall a dream come true.
"We wanted to bring Hawaii with us so we asked The Royal Hawaiian band for permission to allow us to perform "The Hawai'i March" so that's how we are bringing Hawaii with us," said Ochi-Onishi.
The students leave on Thursday, March 5 and their concert is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 10 -- but they won't be coming back right away, because their study tour includes a trip to Boston with stops at several historical sites.
The following students will be performing at Carnegie Hall:
Ah Nee, Isaac
De Spain, Maya
Chang, Kai Le