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MIHS musicians to play at Carnegie Hall

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Mercer Island High School students from left, Danny Naylor, Lauren Asimakoupoulos and Kelley Gossler have been selected to play with the National Wind Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in New York on May 25.  -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Mercer Island High School students from left, Danny Naylor, Lauren Asimakoupoulos and Kelley Gossler have been selected to play with the National Wind Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in New York on May 25.
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Reporter Staff

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The punch line to that old vaudeville joke is, “Practice, practice, practice.” But for three Mercer Island High School students, that gag line is more fact than funny.

Thanks to years of private lessons, public school performances and countless hours of practice, Lauren Asimakoupoulos, Kelley Gossler and Danny Naylor will be performing in the nation’s premier performance venue on Friday evening, May 25. The three musicians were encouraged last fall by Parker Bixby, director of bands at MIHS, to audition for the National Wind Ensemble. Amazingly, all three were accepted into this select group of only seventy-six students from throughout the nation.

The National Wind Ensemble, now in its 10th year, was founded with the mission of identifying talented wind musicians in high school and colleges from across the country and providing them with an intensive training opportunity in New York. Members of the National Wind Ensemble will rehearse for a week under the director of H. Robert Reynolds, principle conductor of the Wind Ensemble at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. The week will be capped off by a performance of works by Wagner, Bach, Penn and Bernstein in Carnegie Hall.

According to Parker Bixby, “To be accepted into a group alongside some of the most talented young musicians in the country is truly an honor. Lauren, Kelley and Danny will have the envied opportunity to work under the renowned conductor Robert Reynolds, who is considered one of the most important and influential wind band conductors in the world today.”

While daytime hours will be spent in rehearsals each day, the three Mercer Island residents will have opportunity during the evening to explore Manhattan and take a bite or two out of the Big Apple.

Lauren, a sophomore flutist, is the daughter of Greg and Wendy Asimakoupoulos. Kelley, a senior clarinetist, is the daughter of Michael and Cheryl Gossler. Danny, a senior tuba player, is the son of Gordon and Julie Naylor. All three students currently play in the Mercer Island High School Wind Ensemble.

“Lauren, Kelley and Danny represent the caliber of musicianship that is represented at MIHS,” Parker Bixby acknowledged. “Our community and school district has much in which to take pride.”

The MIHS Wind Ensemble will perform its spring concert on May 23rd at 7:30 pm in the MIHS Performing Arts Center. Admission is free.

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