Local high school bands to perform at Carnegie Hall

(WAFB) - Timothy Marquess has spent hours on end practicing for the Denham Springs High School Wind Ensemble.

But this year was especially hard.

His school temporarily closed after the August Flood, and students had to share the Live Oak High School campus, leading to odd practice schedules.

"Live Oak was difficult, especially with the hours," Marquess said. "We were there, practicing late at night. I remember Christmas Parade rehearsal, we were there, it was really dark when we finished."

All that hard work paid off in a big way.

Two Louisiana Schools that were devastated by the flood are going to perform at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City next February.

Both Denham Springs High School and Dutchtown High School are two of the six schools that will play at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory International Festival.

"We've got really phenomenal bands across this area with teachers that do an exceptional job in teaching, and we push one another," said Dr. Andrew Hunter, the Denham Springs High School Band Director.

"The fact that they got to play in this wonderful auditorium and hear such great sounds," said Dutchtown Band Director Sheily Bell. "You know, coming off that stage, it's just, I hear it's one of the best performance venues in the world."

Both schools will be sending their Wind Ensembles, small orchestras composed of around sixty students.

Bassoon player Georgia Clement is excited to see the sights of the Big Apple, but getting to perform on the grand stage is what she's looking forward to most.

"I express my feelings through music, and it's exhilarating to play bassoon and show other people what I love," Clement said.

More than anything, the students feel rewarded for their struggles during the flood.

Many students still haven't returned to their homes.

But as the long recovery continues, they have something to look forward to.

"This amazing thing that I might never get to do again just happened to me," said Lukas Deshotel, a French horn player for Denham Springs High.

Dutchtown High School's band will depart for New York City on Friday. Denham Springs High School band will leave on Saturday.

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