HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- There's no higher honor for a musician than to play at Carnegie Hall. It's rare for schools to get an invite, much less two, and from right here in Hawaii.
Moanalua and Saint Anthony Junior Senior students are about to live out their dreams on the famous stage.
Moanalua High School's Symphony Orchestra knows how you get to Carnegie Hall. Junior Tyler Ramos says "we just rehearse, rehearse, rehearse."
Moanalua's Symphony Orchestra Director Elden Seta explains, "The so called Carnegie Hall creed is how did you get to Carnegie Hall? The answer is to practice and to practice and to practice."
He knows because he's been there 3 times in his 25 years at Moanalua, but it will be this orchestra's first and they'll perform on Easter Sunday.
Students have been so busy practicing, it hasn't fully hit them yet. "It's such an historic hall" says cello player Tyler Ramos. " Tchaikovsky first conducted there and we're playing Tchaikovsky. Maybe about 15 minutes before, it's going to hit me Oh My God we're playing in Carnegie Hall."
According to Seta, "That's the greatest thing about Carnegie Hall. It's that you don't know until you're on there and that's what makes it special."
"It's a once in a lifetime experience" says Moanalua junior, violinist Madison Choi. "To be able to say I guess, oh I played on the stage at Carnegie Hall."
Maui's Saint Anthony Junior Senior High Band will get their once in a lifetime shot at Carnegie Hall on April 1st.
It was a big surprise to the band because their teacher Everett Lee Yamashita secretly filmed them. The clip he filmed and sent led to an invitation to play at Carnegie.
"We all thought he was joking" says St. Anthony junior Noa Castleton. "For some, this is a dream. For us coming from a small Maui school all the way to New York to play Carnegie Hall is really an honor."
Sophomore Vanessa Colona calls it "unreal. Actually when you come down to it, I don't know, there's no words for this."
Their teacher Everett Lee Yamashita says, "The kids have really embraced the opportunity and understand how rare this is."
Senior Isaiah Ragasa echoed that sentiment saying, "Being such a small school on Maui, it's really rare that we get such a big opportunity."
It took more than practice to get the 44-piece symphonic band from Wailuku to Carnegie. St. Anthony has been fundraising since 2011 to raise more than one hundred 14-thousand dollars to pay for their trip.
Soon, students from two Hawaii Islands can say they played the most famous hall in all of music.
Tyler Ramos is even considering a permanent reminder. "Carnegie Hall, gonna get that tattoo even though my parents are severely against tattoos. Carnegie Hall."
Congratulations to both schools for such a huge honor. You make Hawaii proud!