Wind Ensemble Prepares for Carnegie Hall Performance


Jared Cassedy conducts Wind Ensemble at the winter concert. Photo by Angie Xu

Jahnavi Bolleddula and Seiya Saneyoshi

Lexington High School’s Wind Ensemble is currently preparing for its performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City on  Feb. 27, 2022. The Wind Ensemble was selected to perform at Carnegie Hall’s New York Wind Band Festival, an annual festival that showcases select ensembles from around the world. 

They will be playing Overture to Candide, City Trees, Havana, and Bolero Concertante.

“What I love about this experience is a little bit different than the other Carnegie Hall experience that we would have had. It focuses directly on a very limited amount of ensembles that come to the festival from around the world,” Jared Cassedy, Wind Ensemble conductor and Performing Arts Coordinator for Lexington Public Schools, said.

In addition to performing at Carnegie Hall, the Wind Ensemble will attend workshops led by experienced performers and conductors. They will also conduct an exchange with another local high school. 

“It’s not just we go to perform at Carnegie Hall and be done. We have a number of workshops with clinicians with some of the adjudicators that will work with us directly,” Cassedy said.

Cassedy applied for the Wind Ensemble to be a part of the festival in January 2021. The festival had been canceled for the previous two years due to COVID-19.

“We found out on the last day of school last year [that we were chosen] and since then, we’ve been preparing for the music,” Cassedy said.

For this performance, Cassedy hopes to focus on the Wind Ensemble’s collaboration and camaraderie since the ensemble’s primary purpose is to honor each individual within the larger group.

“We’re so committed to working on music that brings us together that really helps us to celebrate our identity, our diversity. And I think that this trip in itself will enable us to become more invested in each other not just musically, but as human beings,” Cassedy said.

For students in the Wind Ensemble, this performance comes as an exciting opportunity for them to celebrate the effort they have put in throughout the school year. 

“Combined with my practicing hours plus my rehearsing at school, it’s quite a bit,” Ellie Kim, a freshman clarinet player in Wind Ensemble, said. 

With the prestige of performing at a venue like Carnegie Hall, many Wind Ensemble students cited both the pressure and excitement that comes with it.

“I’m kind of nervous on some songs, there’s a lot of hard pieces out there,” Gavin Ohler, a junior in Wind Ensemble, said. 

Ohler noted that many of the recordings used in the Wind Ensemble’s application are from years past, adding another dimension of pressure for the performers. 

“We have to stand up to the name, and we have to stand up to those recordings, so it is a lot of pressure,” Ohler said.