The White River High band, 55 musicians under the direction of Rich Kuntzelman, performed April 1 at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Contributed photo

The White River High band, 55 musicians under the direction of Rich Kuntzelman, performed April 1 at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Contributed photo

Carnegie Hall appearance for White River band

The band was encouraged to apply for to play at the famed venue three years ago.

White River High musicians had the distinct honor of performing on one of the most prestigious stages in the world.

A contingent of 55 band members, under the watchful eye of director Rich Kuntzelman and accompanied by 15 chaperones, recently trekked to New York City where they took center stage at Carnegie Hall.

The group left home March 30, performed on April 1 and returned April 3.

The story behind a bunch of Buckley kids playing at storied Carnegie Hall actually began three years ago. Kuntzelman maintains a goal of taking his Hornet band on a major trip every few years and, during a 2016 appearance in New Orleans, the White River group was noticed.

The band was then invited to submit an audition tape to those in charge of the Carnegie Hall appearance. “It was of the caliber they liked,” Kuntzelman said, and the wheels were set in motion.

With Carnegie Hall in mind, students embarked on a major fundraising trek that lasted two and a half years. Each band member was responsible for coming up with $2,700 and Kuntzelman helped by providing fundraising opportunities. The White River Education Foundation chipped with a financial contribution that eased the burden.

In the end, Kuntzelman said, students experienced much more than just Carnegie Hall. As part of an organized tour, the White River group took in Broadway shows, met a Radio City Rockette, visited Tin Pan Alley and enjoyed a riverboat cruise.

“There was never a down moment,” Kuntzelman said. As a bonus, the trip went according to plan. “It went swimmingly,” he added. “Not a single hitch.”


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