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Pacific Ridge students perform on stage at Carnegie Hall. The students worked all year for their performance in the WorldStrides National Youth Choir. Photo courtesy Lin Shaw
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Pacific Ridge Vocal Ensemble performs at Carnegie Hall

CARLSBAD — Ask anyone how to get to Carnegie Hall, and they’ll tell you: Practice.

And that’s just what local Carlsbad students did.

Carlsbad’s Pacific Ridge was one of two schools selected to send students to perform individually on stage at the world-renown Carnegie Hall on April 2.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students who performed on the same stage as many world renowned musicians and performers,” said Steven Dziekonski, director of Arts and STEAM Programs at Pacific Ridge.

The students had been working on the performance since the beginning of the year, he added.

Each year, WorldStrides National Youth Choir selects 10 schools to perform, and only two are given the opportunity to perform individually. This year, the vocal ensemble from Pacific Ridge was selected based off the previous year’s performance at the WorldStrides Festival in New Orleans.

“There is nothing like being on that stage,” said Pacific Ridge senior Jared Pollard. “Carnegie Hall is regarded worldwide as one of the greatest centers of music heritage ever, and to be able to perform and be a part of that legacy is an honor like no other.”

Pollard was selected to perform a solo during the performance.

Built in Midtown Manhattan in 1891, Carnegie Hall is regarded as one of the most prestigious venues in the world for both popular and classical music. Other notable acts that have performed on the stage include Louis CK, The Beatles, and Mark Twain.

The Pacific Ridge performances were composed of traditional Appalachian gospel songs and Brazilian folk music. The trip to New York was also culturally enriching for the students, who were able to view the city’s landmarks, and Broadway shows.

Pacific Ridge is a non-denominational middle and high school that opened in 2007. Among the awards its vocal ensemble has earned were previously selected for Carnegie Hall performances in 2012.