Combined orchestra enjoys trip to Carnegie Hall
The Porterville Combined High School Orchestra had the experience of a lifetime on June 26 when they performed in front of a packed house at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Concert promoters, other performers and audience members gave the local orchestra a standing ovation and praised the group for their expressiveness and musicality, said conductor Michael Allard.
"This trip was absolutely fantastic," said orchestra parent and trip coordinator Denise Marchant. "Many of these students had never even flown before so this was just an incredible opportunity for them."
Marchant said a violin solo by Granite Hills High School graduate Rodelyn Lipumano, moved many New Yorkers to tears.
"It was just a real music of the heart type of performance," Marchant said. "They came through and performed incredibly."
The Combined Orchestra was comprised of 52 students from all of the Porterville Unified School District's high schools, as well as selected students from the Pioneer and Bartlett middle schools, guest faculty members, such as Allard's predecessor at Porterville High, Giva Brown, West Putnam kindergarten teacher Sharon Fisk and many more community performers.
For the past year, the orchestra has practiced for countless hours, performed at venues all over the Valley and raised enough money to make their trip to New York a success.
"It was a lot of hard work for everyone but it was very worth it in the end," said Brian Murdock, a Porterville High School sophomore and orchestra member. "When we stepped out on stage to rehearse at Carnegie Hall, half of the orchestra started to cry because it was so beautiful."
More than 100 area residents traveled to New York, either as a performer or a supportive family member or friend.
During their tour of New York, students and their families visited many of New York's cultural and historic sites including Ground Zero, the site of the former World Trade Center. They traveled to the top of the Empire State Building and were treated to Broadway performances of "Phantom of the Opera."
But even after all of their sightseeing, the students agreed that the concert was the highlight of the trip.
"Performance in the historic hall was a unique acoustical experience," Allard said. "Students commented that even the applause sounded different."
Allard said that Granite Hills High School senior Luz Morales said that she could hear her own performance, that of others, and the sound of her violin section, all at once.
Contact Katie Hicks at 784-5000, Ext. 1046, or email@example.com.
This story was published in The Porterville Recorder on July 9, 2005