The Super Long Way to Carnegie Hall

I’m a pretty determined person. I’ve been to a lot of cool places (Australia, Singapore and Italy), done a lot of cool things (met Yo-Yo Ma, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, got my motorcycle license), and crossed every single one of them off my very hot bucket list. I’m also pretty good about not letting something I really want to do stay on the list too long. That’s why it’s been driving me crazy that “See Something at Carnegie Hall” has been on the list since 5th grade. Before there was an official list. Before I even knew what the “bucket” part of bucket list meant.

I’ve wanted to go to Carnegie Hall since 1972. That was the year my big brother Mark told me Cat Stevens, Carly Simon, Elton John and Carole King would be performing there in June. Okay. I was eleven, lived in Milwaukee and had cash-flow and transportation issues to overcome, but I was seriously star-struck, and Carnegie Hall was now on my musical radar.

Now, Carnegie Hall has about 100 performances per year. And, I haven’t seen the inside of my 5th grade classroom for forty-something years. That means, I’ve missed about 5,000 performances. Oh, I’ve been to New York many times. And, each time, I’ve gone with every intention of “catching something” (anything!) at Carnegie Hall. But somehow, I have never gotten closer to this world-famous venue than a late-night drive-by in a smelly yellow taxicab on an incredibly cold winter’s night. Until last year. I finally got to Carnegie Hall, and it was a life-changing experience.

The orchestra performed Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony and Aaron Copland’s, Bought Me a Cat, accompanied by 2,000 singing, recorder-playing, elementary school kids from the NYC school system. The kids had all participated in The Weill Music Institute’s Link Up, a year-long, in-school, interactive music program for third, fourth and fifth graders, which culminated in a live musical performance with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall. They were all having the time of their lives. Laughing. High-fiving. Fist-bumping. Clapping. Cheering. Music-making. It was an incredible ode to joy-- one I will never forget. And, I won’t have to.

Thanks to a generous donation from Diane and Gary Glick, we are bringing this award-winning program from Carnegie Hall to the South Shore. This month, the Phil will become one of 100 communities across the country—and the world—to give this musical gift to our children. Our kids will not only study great music in their music classes, they will make great music with their classmates, and—on one magical day, they will be part of the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra.

Watch this short video with the Columbus Symphony. I can’t think of a better gift for our children. I can’t think of a better way to honor our mission to present programs that nurture a life-long appreciation of music. And, I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year right. With music.

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