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Long Beach school band and choir invited to perform at Carnegie Hall

From North Long Beach to the Big Apple: a group of high school students have a chance to take their talents to the big stage after being invited to perform at Carnegie Hall.

The invitation follows Jordan High School students’ submission of a video application in the summer of 2022. The students are looking to prepare for the trip, which is scheduled in early 2024, according to the Long Beach Post.

“We have a lot of hidden talent here at Jordan,” choir director JJ Garcia said. 

Student and singer Emily Guzman is a first generation student who has dreamed of performing at Carnegie Hall.

“We don’t get picked for a lot of these types things because of our reputation, like we’re a very small, low-income school,” student singer and clarinet player Emily Guzman said. 

Student musician Angel Gonzalez echoed Guzman’s sentiments. 

“Having this opportunity is such a wonderful thing to do, you know,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a dream come true for us.”

The cost of attendance, however, has some students worried. 

Student and flute player Mia Vasquez said that Jordan High School and parents are rallying around the 60 invitees and trying to raise the $150,000 trip cost by January. 

“I just hope we can raise the funds to do it,” Vasquez said. “Jordan is known for not having a lot of funds — I never really thought it was in our reach to go to New York and to Carnegie.”

Garcia is determined to bring this trip to fruition. Garcia said that the students have started to raise funds online.

“Our students, when they find their passion, they are 100% committed to everything that they do,” Garcia said. “They really want to make this a reality for them and that’s why we want to as well, as their teachers, to make this a reality for them.”

Should they manage to raise the funds, the band and choir would be representing both their school and community. Garcia also hopes the trip will introduce the students to the next steps in their education, as it features tours of Columbia University and the Juilliard School.

“We hope this opens their eyes that they can achieve whatever they want if they put their mind set forward and come with an open heart and open mind and put 100% of your passion in what they want to achieve,” Garcia said. 

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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