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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

San Antonio Youth Wind Ensemble Blows Into New York

Nina McGrath
San Antonio Youth Wind Ensemble

A group of local young musicians is taking it to the Big Apple. They are the San Antonio Youth Wind Ensemble, and they started out small, with just 35 school-age musicians.

"Now we're in year seven. We have three fully performing ensembles," says Nina McGrath.

She says that members run the gamut from beginners to very good musicians.

"Our youngest students are thirteen years old and our oldest students are under the age of 20, September first of 2016," says McGrath.

And next week, they're packing those students, parents and a lot of instruments onto an airplane and flying east.

"We are taking 55 students and 44 family members to New York City because we've been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall. We will be performing on Monday, June 19th. Because the theater district is dark on Monday, they always have a full crowd."

It's a big deal to play Carnegie Hall.

"It is! You know there's this old joke about how do you get to Carnegie Hall--practice, practice, practice. For our students it's been fundraise, fundraise, fundraise."

The Youth Wind Ensemble is made up of students from primarily the south and east sides, many of whom haven't traveled extensively.

"There are students we have that have never been out of the city, much less the state, much less riding on a plane. And in addition to our rehearsals and performance in New York, we're going to take them to a Broadway show, we're going to take them to Lion King. We're going to Ground Zero and the Freedom Tower. And we're also going to visit the Top of the Rock, which is 30 Rockefeller Plaza, their observation deck."

McGrath says the students are learning that hard work pays off.

"These students are so worthy of this trip. They've worked hard as musicians. They've worked hard as individuals. We've done care washes, we've done fundraisers. We've done silent Auctions at our concerts."

And now that's all going to pay off. 

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii