Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House. Even non-musicians can recognize these names as two of the most prestigious music halls in the world. After summer 2019, however, CHS junior Tucker Hall will be able to say that he has performed at both.
Hall is currently involved in a variety of extracurricular and honors ensembles including the Young People’s Concert Orchestra, Symphonic Band, All-Suburban Band, All-State Band and Bi-State Honor Band. He first got into the clarinet as a band student in 6th grade, but did not realize his passion for playing until 7th grade. He began to pursue his music skills more, auditioning for All-Suburban, an honor band, twice while at Wydown Middle School.
Hall credits his exposure there to much of his success.
“Our band program, especially at the middle school level, in my opinion is one of the best I could have hoped for, since it’s very much focused around the individual musician, which produces a lot of really talented players that are all part of a very skilled ensemble,” he said.
Although he began playing in 6th grade, Hall became seriously invested in music during his sophomore year at Clayton. Hard work and hours of practice, rehearsals and lessons resulted in Hall being accepted into one of the Community Music School youth orchestras and receiving an honorable mention at All-State Band auditions.
That year and its numerous musical achievements marked a turning point for Hall and his music career. He began to dedicate even more time and resources into music, seeing results such as finally getting accepted into the coveted All-State Band.
“Truth be told I didn’t really consider myself particularly skilled or remarkable until this year, when I made it into All-State for the first time and realized that a lot of the hard work I had put in for the past six years had actually paid off,” Hall said. “All-State is kind of the end goal or highest hope of many high school musicians, so being able to say I got in was a great feeling.”
Truth be told I didn’t really consider myself particularly skilled or remarkable until this year, when I made it into All-State for the first time and realized that a lot of the hard work I had put in for the past six years had actually paid off.”
— Tucker Hall
From there, one of Hall’s band directors registered him for a program called the Honors Performance Series. According to its website, the Honors Performance Series “assembles some of the world’s rising young musicians to perform under the baton of master conductors at two of the world’s most celebrated concert halls: Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House.”
Hall submitted a recording of himself playing a couple pieces and was soon selected to have the opportunity to perform with an honor band at Carnegie Hall last February.
“My experience in the Carnegie program was absolutely phenomenal,” Hall said. “I think meeting musicians from around the country and the world was probably the best part of the whole experience. We had made a Facebook group chat before the program started so we could connect with each other and it’s still very active… I never thought that such a diverse group could become such good friends in such a short period of time.”
The same application that Hall submitted for this experience also admitted him into a similar program run by the same group to play at Sydney Opera House this upcoming summer.
In addition to rehearsals, Hall plans to spend his time in Sydney sightseeing and getting to know his fellow musicians. Music has helped Hall connect with like-minded peers from an early age and has fostered an amicable atmosphere between players.
Balancing music with schoolwork and other activities has been a struggle for Hall, as he spends upward of six hours every week on practice alone.
“I think a big challenge is trying to make time for daily practice in my personal life, and also just keeping up with technical stuff like long tones and articulation practice, which is really the polar opposite of enjoyable but is super important for developing musicality,” he said.
In the immediate future, Hall hopes to repeat and add to the success he has been met with this year. Long term, he is considering a music major, but has not committed to anything yet.
“I hope to be able to be some kind of a music educator as an adult, whether that’s a conductor in a college ensemble or just a side gig of teaching private lessons or playing in a small ensemble,” said Hall. “Either way, I know I want to enjoy playing in at least some capacity for the rest of my life.”
He attributes the joy and opportunities that he has gotten out of being involved in music to his band directors, private teacher and his family.
“I think just the experience of being able to bring joy to others through music is my favorite thing about playing,” he said. “Whether it’s in the pit for theater at CHS or in the little concerts my mom always has me put on at family gatherings, I love being able to make other people happy through what I do.”
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