By Xander Landen Sentinel Staff
This year, they performed at Carnegie Hall. In 2017, they’re headed to Australia to perform at the Sydney Opera House. And they’re both only in the 10th grade.
In October, Keene High School students Kyle Trombley, a singer, and Sara Corrieri, a violist, were selected from among hundreds of students from around the globe to perform on one of Australia’s most famous stages.
The two will travel to the Sydney Opera House next July with the High School Honors Performance Series, the same group that brought them to Carnegie Hall, where they both performed in February 2016.
Making the cut to perform on either stage wasn’t easy.
To get to Carnegie Hall, they had to be nominated by musical instructors and stand out among a total of 18,000 students who auditioned to make up a total of five ensembles.
They were among 750 musicians selected to perform in New York who came from 49 states, four Canadian provinces, Mexico, Guam, Armenia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Oman, the Philippines, Qatar, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
Kyle Trombley was accepted into the program’s honors concert choir and Sara Corrieri made it into the honors symphony orchestra.
To be accepted into the musical groups that will be heading to Sydney, they once again had to prove themselves among hundreds of students. Although they had previously performed with the program at Carnegie Hall and didn’t have to be nominated again to qualify for the Sydney trip, they did have to send in another audition tape.
“It solely comes down to their audition,” Julie Foley, a financial service representative for the Honors Performance Series, said. According to Foley, the Honors Performance Series doesn’t prioritize or favor students who have already performed with the program during the application process.
Since he was accepted into the program, Trombley said he’s looked up pictures of the space and the people who have performed there. He said he’s still wrapping his head around the fact that he’ll be singing there next summer. ”I can’t believe I’m going to be going there. It’s quite an honor, really it is,” Trombley said. Trombley will be performing in a choir of about 100 students, according to Foley.
Corrieri was also thrilled when she was accepted into the Sydney-bound string orchestra, which Foley said will be composed of about 60 students.
“I was pretty sure I was going to make it in but it was still surprising” Corrieri said. And when she found out, she said she couldn’t contain her excitement.
“I was bouncing up and down. I screamed at my brother. In a good way,” Corrieri said.
Corrieri has been playing viola for eight years and Trombley has been singing since he was in kindergarten.
But their dedication to music is not the only that sets them apart from other young musicians.
Their longtime instructors said they both displayed natural, raw talent from a very young age.
Kate Butterfield, the choral director at Keene Middle School, said Trombley was able to have college-level discussions about musical theory with her when he was in the choir.
Butterfield said Trombley has a “tremendous” work ethic and that it’s rare to find students with the same level of maturity and desire to learn at such a young age. In her entire career she said she’s only taught one or two students like him. To see him succeed as a musician “makes it all worthwhile,” Butterfield said.
“It’s just so exciting to see that someone else would love music to the level that I do,” Butterfield said.
Amanda Paul, who teaches Keene string musicians in elementary and high school, also said there are very few students like Corrieri.
“Only ... a handful of students in the seven years that I’ve been teaching have totally taken off at an early age and really excelled on their instruments ... and taken it to new heights,” Paul said.
One of the things Corrieri is most looking forward to about performing at the Sydney Opera House is the opportunity to once again play in a space with excellent sound quality. She recalled the experience of playing with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall in February.
“We played our first note and just held and it; when it cut off, the way it bounced around the hall it was incredible. It was breathtaking,”Corrieri said.
Trombley has many interests outside of music, including psychology and computer science. He also plays piano and several other instruments and said that he’s thinking about studying music in college and becoming a music teacher or professor.
Corrieri on the other hand said she’s not sure if she wants to pursue music professionally. She wants to become a novelist, but also said she may want to play in a group such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra someday.
“Right now I’m kind of figuring things out, but I know I want to keep music in my life.”
Corrieri and Trombley both said they are excited to once again perform as part of a highly talented musical ensemble.
Trombley said the first time he sung with the choir at Carnegie Hall, he turned around in his seat, “shocked” at the students’ collective ability.
“It was immaculate. It was incredible to sit with a group that high level with the same passion,” Trombley said.
Xander Landen can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1420 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @XLandenKS.