Coronado High trombonist David Schonberger knows exactly how to get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice combined with ‘dedication and lots of hard work.’
The sophomore, who practices 2½ to 3½ hours a day outside of school, will join 113 musicians from throughout the country this summer for his second stint playing at Carnegie Hall — this time with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.
“Being up there showed me what’s out there in the rest of the country, showed me the talent and how hard I need to work it to get there,” said Schonberger about his experience last year with the Carnegie Hall program for younger musicians known as NY02. “It was a great experience.”
Last year’s NYO2 prepped him to audition for the youth orchestra, a three-week residency in New York City at Carnegie Hall followed by a two-week performance tour of South America and Mexico. The audition included prescribed pieces and a solo.
Schonberger was selected among 900 applicants. With results pending online, he rapid fired the refresh button on his cell anxiously awaiting word of his acceptance. Once he saw his name, he was genuinely relieved and humbled to be selected for the youth orchestra.
“When I found out, it was the happiest moment of my life,” he said, his trombone closely clutched in his hands.
Schonberger aspires to pursue a music career playing with a symphony orchestra and teaching his craft. Band director Mark Saenz already notes his talent and laser focus for perfecting it.
“David is such an incredible musician – everything comes so natural to him and it’s been that way since middle school,” Saenz said. “He’s so humble and such a great player. The players around him see that he loves music and he can’t stop practicing – that’s kind of his thing. He’s really made everyone around him better.”
Saenz sees endless possibilities for his student as he hones his skills and performs among the best college and high school musicians from around the country.
“To get this honor is a big deal,” Saenz said. “It opens a lot of doors. He’s going to be working with some major contacts, which are conducting major orchestras around the world. As an aspiring professional musician, it will serve as good networking for his future.”
Schonberger is one of two students from El Paso to be selected to play with the youth orchestra. Jonathan López from Mountain View High School in the Clint school district also was selected.