Wildcat band member gets chance at Carnegie Hall
Most musicians wait their entire lives to perform at New York City’s renowned Carnegie Hall, but for Andrews High School senior Kitana Queen that dream is only months away.
After receiving an email about being nominated for the High School Honors Performance Series, which offers talented high school students a chance to perform at Carnegie Hall or Sydney Opera House, Queen decided to fill out the application.
Originally playing the bass guitar in band, Queen had to quickly pick up the upright bass to apply for the program. Practicing five hours a week for two months, Queen worked with Andrews High band Director Joslyn Parker and learned how to play the instrument.
“Bowing was a whole new technique for me,” Queen said. “It was frustrating, but it was all worth it.”
After sending in her application with a recording of her playing the upright bass, Queen received her acceptance letter.
“I’m really excited, and I think it’s an amazing opportunity because there are no big stages around here,” Queen said. “Just being able to represent Andrews High School, that’s a big thing.”
Queen will embark on her musical journey on Feb. 1, remaining in New York City for five days. On the fourth day of her trip, she will perform with other chosen high schoolers from all over the world as a symphony.
This year’s performance will be directed by Jason Seber, who conducts the Kansas City Symphony.
Since the sixth grade, Queen has played the bass guitar. She hopes to carry her passion for music into college.
“Personally, the bass brings the whole band together,” she said. “It’s the backbone of all the instruments. I love just the feeling of a performance. You can always tell when a bass is being played.”
Parker and other Andrews High teachers have made remarks about Queen’s talent, saying she’s a driven student in all her academics.
“When she was accepted, we just all squealed and clapped with excitement,” Principal Lisa Fletcher said. “We’re such a small town, and all the students in band are so talented. Mrs. Parker does such a good job drawing out and promoting talent.
“To have a student perform at Carnegie Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it makes us so proud.”
Andrews High set up a GoFundMe account for Queen to help with the program’s $2,000 cost, which doesn’t include transportation to and from Andrews and New York City. So far, donations have reached $250 of the $4,000 goal. You can donate at www.gofundme.com/carnegie-hall-performance-kitana.
“Kitana is one of the most talented students we’ve ever seen at AHS,” computer programing teacher Griffin Anderson said. “She has a bright future, and we hope that the community can come together to help her get to New York.”s