When a musician of any age performs in front of a large crowd, it’s a thrill no matter what the venue. Most teenagers get that feeling at a school concert or event, but for one Lynbrook South Middle School student, the feeling recently came at one of the country’s landmark concert venues — Carnegie Hall.
Hannah Chiappisi, 13, performed there with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York on March 16, marking the organization’s 20th anniversary season. Chiappisi has played the violin since she picked it up in second grade at Marion Street Elementary School and said the experience of playing in Carnegie Hall was one she’d never forget.
As she took the stage in front of thousands of people, she couldn’t help but notice the size of the hall. “You look up and it looks like a cake,” she said, “there are so many tiers. “I just sat there for a little while and looked out.”
Chiappisi promptly located her family members in the audience and her orchestra teacher at South, Jason Melecio, in the massive crowd. Leading up to the concert, Melecio had asked Chiappisi about purchasing a ticket to the event, but he didn’t know that Chiappisi’s mom, Nancy, had already bought a ticket for him.
When she entered Carnegie Hall to prepare for her performance, Chiappisi said she wasn’t nervous to take the stage. Despite hearing that if a musician messes up in Carnegie Hall the error is amplified more than in other concert halls, Chiappisi was confident because she knew how hard she practiced.
After her performance, her father Michael, a Lynbrook High School graduate, brought her up to the balcony section to watch the remaining acts. Michael said he wanted his daughter to gain a different perspective of the show and Chiappisi added that she liked seeing the other acts in action.
In addition to playing violin at South and with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, Chiappisi also takes private lessons from Shawn Lezar, a musician based in East Rockaway. Chiappisi has been taking lessons from Lezar since she was in fifth grade, which was when she really began excelling at violin.