Young Natchitoches musicians perform in Carnegie Hall

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NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) - The NSU Middle Lab Orchestra is known for winning prizes with its musical talents. But the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders took it a step further this year when they made history in New York.

Photo Source: KALB

Among all their accomplishments at festivals and competitions, they had the chance to play on America’s most famous stage.

"Of course, what's bigger than playing Carnegie Hall,” expressed Katrice LaCour, Orchestra Director. “Just getting invited to go there is something."

LaCour said it was a year-long process for the students. They practiced every day, even spending time during their holidays getting ready for the opportunity.

But you can tell in the way they play the music that they didn't mind the tedious part.

"I mean in the process of learning it, it might be a little hard, but when you get all the notes down in your fingers it's really satisfying to learn the whole piece," said Jack Yi, 7th Grade Violinist.

More than just learning the notes, they also had to raise the funds to get there. After all, travel expenses for 64 students and about double that in chaperones is quite a bit.

"We did a lot of fundraisers,” remembered Brantley Gray, 8th Grade Violist. “We had a golf tournament, we had mini bake sales, we played for the Governor of Louisiana and we auctioned off many things."

But getting on that stage, and witnessing the payoff was worth it.

"It's huge, beautiful architecture and things inside,” expressed Madelynn Misuraca, a 7th Grade Violist. “And it's cool to know that a bunch of amazing composers played there."

"That was absolutely wonderful because the sound at Carnegie Hall was so much different than playing in this area,” added Bess Stewart, 6th Grade Violinist “And it would just repeat back when you stopped playing. And it was just wonderful."

Not only were they the only middle school there, but they're also the first middle school from Louisiana to be invited on the stage.

"They told us that we did a really good job,” said Gabe Castro, 8th Grade Violinist. “And that Mr. LaCour was crazy for taking us up there."

Of course, they give credit to the man who was with them every step of the way.

“He makes us practice, and every day we practice we work hard,” said Sydni Jones, 6th Grade Violist. “And he pushes us to our limits and he's just an amazing teacher."

But he said it was a team effort. And knowing that the students furthered their talents, well that's just as good as playing Carnegie.

"That's my job,” expressed LaCour. “I feel like my job is here at the elementary middle school level you know so I can show them the right way to do it so they can be successful later on in life."

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