Photos courtesy of InterSchool Orchestras of New York
Students in the Queens East Orchestra are preparing for a performance at Carnegie Hall.

A group of young musicians belonging to a Bayside-based orchestra will perform at one of the world’s most prestigious music venues this month.

The Queens East Orchestra, comprised of 17 students in fourth grade through high school hailing from all around the borough, will take the stage at Manhattan’s Carnegie Hall on Thursday, May 11.

Part of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York (ISO), the group has been practicing for the performance since January, according to director of programs and cello coach Kristen Drymala.

“They’re really dedicated,” Drymala said. “It’s really become a close-knit community.”

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The ensemble, led by conductor Joseph Seifers, made its debut in 2012 and rehearses at P.S. 203 Oakland Gardens School. D. Massimo Brogna, a sixth-grade violinist and Bellerose resident, has been with the group since its inception.

“I feel like it’s a great opportunity for all kids of all ages,” Brogna said. “It’s a great way to socialize with people and get to know them better. It helps you work with others. And playing violin — it helps me focus better.”

Photo courtesy of Don Brogna

Photo courtesy of Don Brogna

Brogna has performed at the renown musical venue with the ensemble once before. He was excited and nervous leading up to the performance, the student explained, but felt a confidence boost upon taking the stage.

“Once I got on stage, I felt calm and relaxed,” Brogna said. “I knew all the friends I’d been [practicing] with were with me and supporting me.”

Under the direct guidance of Queens East Orchestra violin coach Yaesolji Shin, Brogna said he has been able to refine his skills over the years.

“[Ms. Shin] is a great help, and she helps me better understand some of the techniques that are harder, like shifting fingers,” the student said. “She really clears it up for me, and everyone in the orchestra.”

At the May 11 performance, the Queens East Orchestra will perform works from composers Gustav Holst, Lennie Niehaus, Franz Schubert and Victor Lopez. The entire night of music will feature performances from nearly 350 ISO student musicians, the Canadian Brass and conductor Tito Muñoz.

An ISO alumnus and Forest Hills native, conductor Tito Muñoz will also be honored at the event. Currently the music director of the Phoenix Symphony, Muñoz began playing the violin in the fifth grade at I.S. 227 Louis Armstrong School in Elmhurst.

“We’re very proud of our students and very excited about the performance,” said Karen Geer, executive director of ISO. “We know it’s going to be a wonderful night.”

Tickets for the performance can still be purchased by visiting the Carnegie Hall website.

Founded in 1972, the InterSchool Orchestras of New York began with a single orchestra of 20 children; today, it serves nearly 350 children. Financial aid and scholarship opportunities are available to interested students. To learn more, visit their website.

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Photo by Adam Hume

Photo by Adam Hume


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