Parkland Students Perform at Carnegie Hall After Deadly Shooting: 'Music Kept Us Going'
The members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas' wind symphony performed at New York City's Carnegie Hall Tuesday night in what participants called a moment of healing for all.
The musicians took the stage at the grande dame of performance halls after beating out schools from across America for the coveted opportunity.
While several other schools also got to perform, all eyes were on the students from Parkland, whose campus became a killing field three weeks ago when a mass shooting that left 17 people dead.
"Music was probably the one constant through all of this," clarinet player Angela Francz told CBS New York. "It was the the thing that kept most of us going."
Trombone player George Nesmith agreed.
"Every single time I play a piece, all thoughts, other than the peace, just flow away," he said. "It just really helps, it soothes all the the pain, and just really helps me get through all this."
While some of the students who survived the Valentine's Day massacre are back at school following a two-week hiatus, members of the Stoneman Douglas wind symphony were traveling to New York City for their Carnegie Hall debut.
It was the culmination of an incredibly emotional few weeks for the musicians, who were practicing together when cops say Nikolas Cruz stormed their high school, killing 14 of their fellow students along with three staff members.
The hard-earned trip was very nearly derailed by the tragedy, CBS New York reports.
"The Stoneman Douglas Wind Symphony were still determined to move forward with the invitation received months ago when the band was accepted to perform in the New York Wind Band Festival," teacher Alex Kaminsky posted on Facebook. "We had three rehearsals this week to try to get our program as ready as possible... I’m amazed at how these kids are playing under these circumstances!"
For their courage, the students were recognized by organizers with an invitation to perform the finale Tuesday night.
“It’s like you forget about it for a little bit," senior Mackenzie Hurst told CBS New York. "Because instead of listening to the story that just happened in Parkland, you’re listening to the story of the music."