COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Carnegie Hall is known for musical excellence, so for kids like 17-year-old Bella Holcomb, snagging a seat is a big deal.
“I was just expecting to get into the regular band and then I figured out I was going to be playing with the strings,” said Bella, a Collierville High School student. “Out of, I think, four different clarinet players, I was second chair and I was really excited.”
She spent days in New York practicing her clarinet for six hours at a time and surrounded by the best of the best across the globe.
“You start thinking about how all of the great musicians that have played there. You can feel the history in the building.”
"Basically if you get your name on the list on the name of people who performed at Carnegie Hall in whichever way, like chamber music or solo, orchestra, this is the very elite," explained Andre Dyachenko, her clarinet teacher and clarinetist with Memphis Symphony Orchestra. "It's basically like getting a Super Bowl ring."
Bella's mother April sees her childhood dreams manifesting in her daughter.
"I did cry. I was so excited for her. It meant a lot. I love to hear her play."
April was accepted into Julliard, one of the top performing arts schools in the world, but her mother didn't allow her to attend.
"We come from a small town, Decatur, Alabama and essentially she was just like you are not ready for New York."
Decades later, her daughter now has her eyes on Julliard.
"I used to go outside every day and play for hours on end. Some of my friends, they laugh today because when I learned upper register on clarinet every dog on the block would howl while I sat out there for hours to play so teaching her was amazing."