The Way to Carnegie Hall, Part 2 or Alicia in Wonderland
by Alicia Patrice, Reference Department

Early in the morning of April 8th, 2004, I boarded a bus headed for the San Jose Airport, to catch a non-stop flight to New York City. The previous day consisted of a nearly all-day rehearsal with the CSUS Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Already the excitement was building for what promised to be the opportunity of a lifetime. The weeks had passed quickly and our hard work was about to pay off.

I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous, but really more excited than anything. In the time leading up to the trip, we’d given two concerts and really formed a camaraderie among the members of the ensemble. I already knew many of the students, but had only met others for the first time. They were very interested to find that I was not myself a student, but in fact a 30-year-old librarian! (Most of them are a lot younger…) Throughout the semester, they asked many questions about what I do and what is available in the library, so it was very good PR for us. I found myself in New York City, outside the NBC Studios waiting for the Today Show, answering questions the students had about the library and talking about my job.

The New York Wind Band Festival consisted of 4 high school bands competing during the day and attending coaching sessions with the directors of the two showcase bands. The evening concert featured the showcase bands: an American Legion Band from New York and our own CSUS Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Earlier on the day of concert, we had a one hour rehearsal in Carnegie Hall. They took us in the back door and led us to a warm-up room. Later, we passed through the control booth and onto the stage. Setting foot on the stage for the first time was an amazing experience that took my breath away and left an indelible image in my memory.

Tuesday evening held the most important event of all—the concert on the stage of Carnegie Hall. The rehearsal earlier in the day went well and we all felt pretty confident about the performance. The audience was filled with the high school bands, friends and family, and many others. It was the largest audience I’ve ever played in front of, but I felt pretty calm. Having eight people in the audience to see me was really meaningful and I was so grateful to have them there. The night held some of the happiest moments of my life. After the concert, I couldn’t stop marveling at the fact that I had just played Carnegie Hall. (See pictures of Alicia's night)

We were in New York City for 5 days, with an ample amount of free time. I went to some small art galleries, saw the Broadway production of Rent, and stayed in Brooklyn with a college friend. This allowed me to explore more of the city and ride the subway like a local. Since I’m from the East Coast, I have many friends in the area and was able to visit with a number of them that I hadn’t seen in years. I explored several different areas of Manhattan and was amazed at the ease of getting around on public transportation.

Having been involved with this group has allowed me to grow, both as a musician and as a person. The gratitude I feel at having been a part of all this is voluminous and I would like to thank everyone in the library who supported me in this endeavor. It feels as if things have come full circle from my first flute lesson in 4th grade to the concert at Carnegie Hall.