Queens’ young musicians set to shine at Carnegie Hall for Clive Davis tribute

Queens middle schoolers will take the stage and perform at Carnegie Hall. Concert photographed: Friday, March 15, 2024 8:00 PM Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage Photograph: © 2024 Richard Termine PHOTO CREDIT – RICHARD TERMINE
Photo by Richard Termine

Eight talented middle school musicians from Queens will grace the stage at Carnegie Hall on Apr. 29. They are set to perform alongside the New York Pops during the orchestra’s 41st Birthday Gala, honoring legendary producer Clive Davis.

The talented middle schoolers are a part of The New York Pops’ Kids on Stage program, comprised of 22 middle and high school students from across the five boroughs. This year, students from the program will take to the stage and perform in the concert, dubbed “The Soundtrack of Our Lives: A Tribute to the Legendary Clive Davis.

The students underwent a rigorous audition process followed by a rehearsal program to prepare for the event. The participants from Queens include Lia Hong on the oboe (I.S. 25Q in Flushing), Kaiden Lee on the flute (M.S. 158Q in Bayside), Maximo Lee on the violin (M.S. 172Q in Floral Park) and Leo Ling on the trombone (M.S. 74 in Bayside). Additional student performers from Queens include Justin Mahabir on percussion (Hawtree Creek Middle School in South Ozone Park), Gabriel Ortiz and Dean Saghafi on the saxophone (I.S. 237Q in Flushing) and Muya Zhou on the violin (M.S. 74 in Bayside).

For the third year in a row, the Kids on Stage program will include a conducting apprenticeship for high school students. The students will learn conducting from The New York Pops’ music director and conductor Steven Reineke and Kids on Stage Director Brian Worsdale.

Additionally, up to 19 Kids On Stage participants will receive a full scholarship to attend the French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts for three weeks in Hancock, New York.

The New York Pops will distribute over 800 free tickets to students from schools across New York as a part of their Kids in the Balcony initiative.

The concert will also feature another tribute performance to Clive Davis, performed by the Broadway community and recording industry guest artists. Some of the featured guests include Babyface, Busta Rhymes, Fantasia, Melissa Manchester and Dionne Warwick.

Kids on Stage is a free program allowing middle and high school students to experience a professional performance with Carnegie Hall.

Founded by Ruth and Skitch Henderson in 1983, the New York Pops’ mission is to give the public access to concerts and high-quality music education programs. The organization is the largest independent pops orchestra in the U.S. and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music.  The orchestra, led by Reineke, performs annually at Carnegie Hall.