Roosevelt High School band director Gregg Abe leads the band in a recent rehearsal in the school’s auditorium for their upcoming concert on March 13 in Carnegie Hall in New York City.
About 60 of them will be traveling to New York and will perform as part of the 2019 New York Wind Band Festival.
The five-day festival, now in its 17th year, features select school and community bands from around the country to perform at the concert hall, a landmark in midtown Manhattan.
At a recent rehearsal for an upcoming performance in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Roosevelt High School band director Gregg Abe coached band members on standing up and taking a bow.
Roosevelt High School band director Gregg Abe, who himself performed in Carnegie Hall as a part-time drummer for the Royal Hawaiian Band in the 1990s, said being selected for the festival is “a really big honor, considering the number of quality high school bands who have performed in previous years.”
The band will perform two works: “Four Seasons of Japan,” a lovely cinematic work by Japanese composer Satoshi Yagisawa, and “Diamond Tide,” a work by Vietnamese-American composer Viet Cuong that features unusual percussion instruments, as well as difficult challenges for percussion players.
The composers themselves expressed excitement that their work will be played at Carnegie Hall, and they’re planning to go to New York to hear them.
The percussion section rehearsed a section of composer Viet Cuong’s work “Diamond Tide,” using crystal wineglasses containing different amounts of water. The musicians used chopsticks to tap on the glasses, occasionally tilting them to “bend” the pitch.
The saxophone and trombone sections play during a rehearsal.
The Roosevelt High School band breaks up into sectionals during rehearsal.
The trumpet and trombone sections play during a rehearsal.
First clarinets (in the front row, l-r) Emiko Tajima, Yoon Ji Cha and Devon Dowkin, play during rehearsal.
Roosevelt High School band director Gregg Abe leads the band in a recent rehearsal.
“I’m really extremely proud of our students,” Roosevelt High School band director Gregg Abe said. “They sacrifice so much time, because I would say that almost every single one of them in that band has other obligations besides band … athletics, student government, part-time jobs. But they make the time to be here and they work extremely hard. So I’m so, so proud of them and I know they will do extremely well out there.”