Five Wilkinsburg High School students had the chance to perform with members of Carnegie Mellon University’s wind ensemble in a special side-by-side concert on Thursday, February 5th. The performance was part of a special concert put on by CMU and included performances by the World Drumming ensemble made of students from Kelly and Turner elementary schools, along with other Pittsburgh Public Schools. This joint performance was made possible thanks to the Grable Foundation.
The band students are Sacoyia Bennett (clarinet), Samiya Brown (flute), Sam Brown, Jr. (snare drum), Jaquan Betts-Givner (quad-toms), Kevin Blackwell (baritone), and Chris Harper, Jr. (alto saxophone). They played Will Pharrell’s popular hit “Happy”, which they’d been rehearsing in band class led by Ray Strobel. However, they were very surprised when Stephen Story, associate director for CMU’s wind ensemble, counted off the beginning of the song at a much faster tempo than expected. “You didn’t tell us it was going to go that fast!” exclaimed Samiya after the rehearsal was done. However, all the students were able to adjust to the new tempo and performed very well.