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Dr. Hampton reflects on his Carnegie Hall debut …

 

Dr. Hampton at Carnegie Hall

My Carnegie Hall debut was for me life changing. There are several reasons that I feel this way.  First, I was honored to be asked to appear on the main stage of this prestigious hall.  Secondly, I visited Westminster Choir College, my alma mater during the week leading up to my appearance at Carnegie.  As a student at WCC, I had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.  Interesting to me was the fact that the WCC Symphonic chorus was preparing to sing Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the NYPO, which was the first composition that I performed as a junior at WCC in 1976.  I even took my score with me and sang along!  This visit reminded me of the training that I received from WCC and the  passion for music that was instilled in me during my time as a student.  As a result, my second feeling was of gratitude.  Finally, I was humbled when I entered my dressing room which had my name posted outside and even more humbled when I walked out on stage to conduct the National Festival Chorus. The reason I was humbled was the fact that I recognized that my previous performances on the stage at Carnegie Hall were under the direction of James Levine, Leonard Bernstein and Pierre Boulez!  Just to follow in the footsteps of these great conductors helped me to remember just how grateful and thankful I was for this opportunity and to further remind me not to take my gift of music and my ability to lead others with my conducting skills lightly.

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