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Behind the Scenes: Producing a Music Extravaganza at Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall is one of the few halls in the world that is prestigious in terms of both name and association. Anybody with ambitions in music would be honored to have the chance to play there. The rest of us would love to see our favorite musical talents perform there. Unbeknownst to the public, innumerable details must be handled behind the scenes to make each Carnegie performance run like a well-oiled machine.

Planning for a Carnegie performance starts off at least 4 months in advance, but up to a year may be needed in order to avoid feeling rushed for time. In my experience, even someone who has never hosted a large event or played on the big stage can pull off a spectacular event (provided they supply the musical talent). The key to success is working closely with the amazing Carnegie staff and following their detailed instructions and suggestions. From ticket sales and playbills to performance schedules and equipment rentals, Carnegie can help you plan and implement anything.

Earlier this year, Fourwinds Tours & Travel had the pleasure of organizing a concert at Carnegie Hall that included four different student groups with up to 100 students each. These aspiring musicians would be performing for the first time in such a prestigious establishment. Carnegie had provided us with detailed checklists to follow, so we were ready when the busses, with their loads of energetic students, arrived. The performers displayed their backstage passes and then followed directions to different rooms where they practiced and relaxed between sound checks and performances. Thanks to the meticulous Carnegie Hall staff, there were arrows and signs by each elevator, staircase, and room, telling the students exactly where they needed to go. While the students did have to climb up and down as many as six flights of stairs, they had it easy compared to organizers that needed to clamber back and forth over 20 times!

Remember when I mentioned Carnegie Hall runs like a well-oiled machine? From the rooms and technology to the specific paths needed to get to our destinations, the facility was extraordinary. It’s best not to get in the staff’s way or delay the time schedule, however, because that could be expensive and interfere with other activities scheduled for the rest of the day. Before even seeing the actual stage, the performers were awestruck by the impressive backstage area. One group of about 100 students and 5 chaperones ended up taking the wrong staircase and momentarily got lost in the massive infrastructure, but thanks to Carnegie’s flawless security, we were able to locate them quickly and direct the group to their destination in time.

One of the highlights of the day was seeing the looks on the students faces when they first entered the main stage for sound check. It immediately dawned on the young musicians that they were in the big leagues now, and the upcoming night would be one they’d never forget. The absolute best part of the day was the look on the students’ faces after their performance was over. “Wow,” is what their expressions beamed for all to see. “Wow” is what we organizers were also thinking, when we saw the impact that had been made. Those high school students had just performed at the renowned Carnegie Hall, an amazing story to tell for the rest of their lives. This key moment would help to shape their futures and strengthen their connection to music.Carnegie Hall

Being a part of this transformative event makes me believe that everyone should have the chance to bask in moments like this, where something we are passionate about can be showcased to the world, fueling our ambitions by seeing our goals within reach. Not only is this great motivation, it helps one to feel true pride in oneself. While not everyone will get the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall, other forums like science exhibitions, sports competitions or perhaps a play, can provide the chance to perform in front of people, demonstrate one’s talents and be recognized. Such moments can prove to be catalysts to transform one’s outlook and path in life.

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