Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer
Carnegie Hall is known as the most prestigious concert stage in the U.S. and recently one of Franklin High School Band students was privileged enough to perform there. Maylee Anderson, a freshman at FHS, was nominated by her eighth grade Band Teacher, to audition for the venue and was accepted to perform at Carnegie as a member of the Honors Performance Series High School Honors Band.
Tom Graham, band teacher at Macon Middle School (MMS) felt that Maylee met the criteria for nomination. Graham explains, “a student nominated for the Honor Series has to excel in their abilities and demonstrate phenomenal work ethic and discipline. Maylee was an exemplary student, always prepared for class and a great attitude allowing her to learn new things very quickly. Maylee was awarded the Director’s Award at last year’s MMS band spring concert – this is the highest award given to any student.
“I am fortunate to have many fantastic students at MMS, but Maylee was one that would prepare assignments to a higher than expected level. She was one of the few 7th grade students to audition for every honors group available. Maylee was a member of the MMS Jazz Band, Tri-M Music Honor Society, a soloist with the MMS Honors Band, All-District Band, and All-State Band. She is a born leader and has the self-motivation to achieve whatever she chooses to pursue in her life.”
The process does not end with a teacher’s submission of a student’s name. A panel of judges listened to Maylee’s recorded audition and along with written recommendations, made a decision on her inclusion in the program.
Maylee says she first realized she liked playing an instrument when she was in 5th grade. She plays the euphonium, a low brass instrument. Many members of her family are musically inclined but mostly with string and percussion instruments like the guitar, banjo, and drum set. Maylee explains, “I sent in an audio recording of an etude they gave me, along with a solo of my choice, and waited a few months for my results.” After her acceptance and as the event drew near, she was given her music ahead of time to practice on her own and then she and the other participants all met in New York City for a few days to practice them all together. They played the pieces “Exultation,” “Dulcinea,” “Reflections,” “Magnolia Star,” and “On The Mall.” Maylee performed with a group of high school students, but she had a few of her own solos in some of the pieces they played.
“I had an amazing time playing in Carnegie Hall,” declares Maylee. “It has been my dream to perform there since I started band in 6th grade. I couldn’t help but cry when we started performing, because my dream had finally come true. The hall was very beautiful and had amazing acoustics. The people and the music and the sights were all great. This was an amazing experience that I will never forget.”
Maylee is planning to make a career in music. She would like to major in Music Ed and become a school band director, like her three band directors, Jenny Huckabee, Tom Graham, and Buddy Huckabee. She states, “they have all inspired me and helped me so much to become who I am.”
Maylee’s father, Justin Anderson, accompanied her to New York City, along with her grandmother, Jane Ellenburg, her sister, Mallory and her brother, River.
“Maylee first started to show an interest in music around the age of 10, when in the fifth grade under band director Jenny Huckabee,” said Anderson.
“She performed with the Honors Performance Series High School Honors Band [at Carnegie Hall]. This was an international event represented by 42 states and seven foreign countries. Their performance lasted about an hour, playing five pieces of music. Maylee was awarded first chair Euphonium as a ninth grader and was given three solos.”
Not only is Maylee an exceptional musician, she is also an A/B honors student at Franklin High School.
While attending the three day event in NYC, Maylee got to take in the Broadway Show, “Phantom of the Opera,” visit the observatory atop the Rockefeller Building, and take a cruise seeing the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and the NYC lights, to celebrate her success.