BMS Bass Player to Carnegie Hall
As the old cliché goes, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”
“Practice, practice, practice.”
Which is what Alexander Sears of Bayfield is doing daily on his string bass as he’s learning five pieces for a June performance by the Honors Performance Series in the storied New York City venue.
He will be performing with middle school musicians from around the world in the honors junior orchestra of the series. Sears, who is 13, was nominated for the honor by Lech Usinowicz, the director of the Bayfield Middle School orchestra and the Be Frank Foundation, which teaches orchestral music and drums to area students. Sears recorded “Today” by Robert Gardner for his tryout piece.
A few months later, he learned he was accepted - the only student in La Plata County selected for this year’s performance.
Sears said he likes the bass because of the deepness of the sound and how it is magnified by the massive size of the instrument.
“Yes, he had to pick the largest instrument in the orchestra,” said his mother, Rachel Davenport, only partially grumbling about hauling it to practices and performances since he was a child.
Sears has studied music for four years, starting in the Bayfield Elementary Orchestra. He has participated in local and regional ensemble festivals and competitions, as well as statewide competitions where he and his peers have received top honors for performances, sight reading, and presentation.
While Sears has been to Washington D.C. before with his mother and twin brother, Nathan, this will be his first visit to New York City.Photo
Photo courtesy Rachel Davenport
Bayfield resident Alexander Sears, 13, will perform on the string bass at Carnegie Hall in June as part of the Honors Performance Series.
For the June performance, Sears is learning “Capriccio Espagnol” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, “October” by Eric Whitacre, “Mantras” by Richard Meyer, “Molly on the Shore” by Percy Grainger, and “Danse Bacchanale” by Camille Saint-Saëns, from the opera “Samson and Delilah.”
A few of the pieces are somewhat more challenging than what he typically plays, Sears said, “but they’re not too difficult.” The musicians, even though they are young, are expected to perform at the top of their abilities. Participation in one of the three Honors Ensembles is limited to the highest rated middle school performers from across North America and select schools internationally.
He will join other performers from 39 U.S. states, several provinces of Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Qatar, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. The series also features performances for high school students and young adults at Royal Festival Hall in London, the Sydney Opera House in Australia and Musicverein in Vienna.
“Being selected to the Honors Performance Series is something each junior finalist should be extremely proud of accomplishing,” said Nancy Richardson, program director for the series, stated in a press release announcing his selection. “We process thousands of nominations annually, selecting only the most talented performers. Working with these conductors and performing at Carnegie Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that these student musicians never forget.”
Junior finalists will come together for five days in June in New York City to have the opportunity to learn from conductors, work with other junior finalists, and get a taste of New York City.
Photo courtesy Be Frank Foundation
Alexander Sears, far right, stands at the end of the Bayfield Middle School Orchestra’s winter concert in December.
The Honors Performance Series was created to showcase individual high school and middle school performers on an international level by allowing them to study under master conductors. The Honors Performance Series is presented by WorldStrides, an educational travel organization.
Sears is raising funds for his trip by seeking sponsorships from local businesses and holding fundraisers. Donations can be sent, with his name in the check memo, to Honors Performance Series, 1359 Broadway Suite 1504, New York, NY 10018.