The Sentinel High School Band made the most of their opportunity to perform at the nation’s premiere concert venue, New York City’s Carnegie Hall, as the band also brought home a Gold Medal for their efforts.

Band Director Lewis Nelson said some of the bands who participated had the chance to win either a bronze, silver or gold medal, and for Sentinel, they went for the gold.

“It wasn’t a competition, but it was a festival where you had to compete to be accepted, and at the end they give you a bronze, silver or gold medal,” said Nelson. “Four high school bands were there, two received silvers and two received golds. It’s a festival where they give you the appropriate award for your performance, and we got a gold.”

Nelson said Carnegie Hall definitely lived up to its legendary reputation.

“I can’t explain even the woodwork or the acoustics in there,” he said. “The stage is huge and it’s a huge hall that seats from 2,500 to 3,000. When you’re sitting on the stage you look up and see three levels of balconies. When you play a full chord, it seems to ring for about an hour. I don’t think the kids or I understood what we were getting into until we had a first dress rehearsal, and then everyone’s faces was ‘O my gosh’! just realizing how many greats have come through that place. Everyone who goes to New York has to visit Carnegie Hall.”

Nelson said no one who performed or enjoyed the performances at Carnegie Hall will ever be the same.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “After the performance they changed. I could just sense that it was a revolution for some of them. Their demeanor and how they were acting afterwards. Everyone was just aglow. It was a phenomenal experience for all involved.”

The students are safely home now, but part of their childhood will forever remain in Carnegie Hall. New York City, USA.