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Monday, March 21, 2005
Moanalua hits high
Last night, Jill Morita fulfilled what she calls "a musician's dream."
The Moanalua High School senior played Carnegie Hall - along with about 100 of her band-mates - in yesterday's annual Ensemble Debut Series.
After the performance, she could hardly hold back tears.
"It was more than I ever expected," the cellist said. "It was really, really, really awesome."
Moanalua's symphony orchestra played in the Carnegie series along with the semipro New York Symphonic Ensemble and the Greater Miami Youth Ensemble.
It was an encore performance for Moanalua, which in 1988 became the first high school orchestra to be invited to Carnegie.
The high school also represented the United States in the 2004 International Band Festival in Japan.
After Moanalua performed yesterday, the orchestra got a minutes-long standing ovation.
Their performance included "Honolulu City Lights" and Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor.
"It was so much more than what I thought Carnegie would be like," said Im Young Park, the concertmaster and a Moanalua senior, who played a violin solo in the concerto that lasted about seven minutes.
"It was amazing."
Moanalua brought a Hawaiian flare with them to New York, with students wearing orchid blossoms.
The group also brought orchid leis for Carnegie officials.
"This whole thing is surreal for me," said Eric Thong, a cellist and Moanalua High senior. "Even after we hit that final note, I just couldn't believe we were doing this."
He also said that after the school's performance, as they were receiving a standing ovation, members of the audience yelled, "Good job, Hawaii!"
The three orchestra members said preparing to play Carnegie was a grueling experience.
At first there were only practices during school, but the group was soon practicing after school and during weekends.
All this as the students were also preparing for midterm exams, Thong said.
"The practices were hard," Park added, "but we came through for everyone."
The orchestra arrived in New York for the performance on Thursday. From New York the students will go to Washington, D.C., where they will take in some sights and, Thong said, be able to have some fun without worrying about a big performance.