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Playing clarinet opens the world of the orchestra and Carnegie Hall

Kidsday reporter Isabelle Chen, of Port Jefferson Middle

Kidsday reporter Isabelle Chen, of Port Jefferson Middle School, practicing her clarinet. Credit: Gorgina Pryer

Every Thursday, I participate in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, called MYO. Players from all over Suffolk County join together, whether you’re a flute player, a bass player or even a percussionist. There’s at least one person representing each instrument, except for saxophone, which isn’t included in an orchestral formation.

My conductor, Mrs. Eileen Murphy, makes sure that everybody is playing their best, and that the orchestra sounds presentable to the audience. I’m a second clarinet player, and at my first concert, we played Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony Finale, "Into the Storm" by Robert Smith, and the Academic Festival Overture by Bach.

In each section of the woodwind ensemble, there were three people. There was one bassoon, four flutes, three clarinets, three oboes, three French horns, one trumpet, two trombones, and  two percussionists.

In each section of the string ensemble, there were about 10 cellos, six basses, five violas, 15 first violins, and 15 second violins.

Our trip to Carnegie Hall was such a long day, because we had to wait for the other orchestras to finish their dress rehearsals.  We got there at 10:30 a.m. and the first concert didn't begin until 2 p.m. We all brought our phone chargers and something to entertain ourselves. This was the longest and the most excruciating process of the concert.

In MYO, there are three orchestras: the principal orchestra, which is the highest orchestra that also tours Europe in the summer, the symphony orchestra, and the concert orchestra, which is the orchestra that I’m in.

MYO is a high honor to me, and I really appreciate it. I think that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it’s beneficial to my musical ability, and makes me a better player.

Nancy Bachety's sixth-grade class, Port Jefferson Middle School

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