It's a Friday afternoon, and while Weston McCall could be playing a video game, hanging out with friends, or studying Latin, he is playing musical excerpts on his French Horn in the TPR studios.
"Not all my friends really know all the stuff I am involved in, I mean they know I'm in YOSA, the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, and a few of my friends know I applied for it, but my friends at school - they're proud of me, they're really happy, but I know that they have no clue about what I'm talking about."
McCall is a Junior at John Marshall High School in San Antonio and just won a spot in the inaugural National Youth Symphony of the United States of America, curated by Carnegie Hall. He is one of 120 students, 16-19 years old, who will play this summer in the US, Russia, and Great Britain.
Sarah Johnson is the Director of the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. She says the idea for a National Youth Orchestra was two fold. "We really wanted to create an amazing musical experience for young musicians from around the country, to provide them with an incredible cultural ambassador experience; and to shine the light on the incredible work that is happening all over the country, without which we wouldn't be able to put all this together!"
McCall recalls, "A year ago at the TMEA convention they had a booth there talking about Carnegie Hall and my mom brought it up and it really didn't seem practical for me at the time, I had YOSA going on and All State going on, it was a busy time." But over the summer, Weston heard about it again. "And I thought it was the coolest thing, and I heard who the conductor was, I heard what we were playing, and who we were playing with, and I thought it would be a great experience, and from then it just shot off! I made sure I did my best on the audition video and sent it in as quickly as possible!"
That process was educational, and Weston says a good challenge. "The excerpts were very difficult, I practiced a lot, and my teacher worked with me on it a lot. Overall I thought the audition video wasn't exactly the best I could do, but when I got the results back I was ecstatic!"
McCall is also ecstatic to perform with classical superstar Joshua Bell and conductor Valery Gergiev.
Steven Payne is the Executive Director of YOSA. He says "The international language of music - it's kind of become a hokey line that people use, that 'music is the international language.' But you really feel that to the first degree when you are touring internationally, because you can play any kind of music, and it just speaks to the audience even though you can't speak to them in their language. It is a phenomenal experience, that will stay with Weston the rest of his life."
Sarah Johnson adds, "They will contribute so much to what the program is, and becomes, and the culture of the orchestra, and I think it is going to be extraordinary!"
The National Youth Orchestra will meet June 30th to July 23rd to rehearse and perform. They already have plans for 2014.
There's more information about NYO-USA online here.
John Marshall High School Junior and French horn player Weston McCall has won a spot in the inaugural National Youth Symphony of the United States of America, which is curated by Carnegie Hall.
McCall is one of 120 students, 16-19 years old, who will play this summer in the U.S., Russia and Great Britain. He said the audition process was educational, but a good challenge.
"The excerpts were very difficult. I practiced a lot, and my teacher worked with me on it a lot. Overall I thought the audition video wasn't exactly the best I could do, but when I got the results back I was ecstatic," McCall said.
The National Youth Orchestra will meet June 30 to July 23 to rehearse, and will be performing with classical music superstar Joshua Bell and conductor Valery Gergiev.
- There's more about the NYOUSA online at: www.carnegiehall.org
YOSA performing at this year's Brahms Festival: