A Kids on Stage Story
A Kids on Stage Story
We asked Christopher LeDoux, a Kids on Stage alum from 2018 through 2020, to talk about his Kids on Stage experience - from his 6th grade audition to his current participation in the National Youth Orchestra as a high school sophomore.
Pictured above: Christopher (second from left) with New York Pops trumpet players on stage at Carnegie Hall in 2019.
My name is Christopher LeDoux and I am a 15 year old trumpet player from Staten Island, New York. I have been blessed to be a part of The New York Pops family for the last five years. In 6th grade, I first heard about Kids on Stage through my Middle School band director. I was accepted for the first time in 2018, and the experience instantly changed the way I approached music. The program helped me realize why I continued to pick up my instrument every day. My love for music led me to constantly feel the need to challenge myself to explore my capabilities and improve. Kids on Stage helped me realize what I was capable of by tapping into my talents and giving me the right tools to grow.
Christopher (second from right) rehearses for Kids on Stage 2019 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music.
The 2018 Birthday Gala was my first time playing with The New York Pops and my first time playing in Carnegie Hall with a professional orchestra. I remember going onto the stage completely frozen, staring into the seats of the hall in awe. The members of the orchestra were extremely kind and welcoming. They inquired about my musical experience, playing style, and my future goals. Throughout the concert, I felt the energy that maestro Steven Reineke and the guest artists radiated, keeping the performers and audience engaged. This was an experience of a lifetime, one that I will never forget.
My 2019 Kids on Stage experience was very similar. It was another great experience with a lot of learning and opportunity for growth. I formed a special connection with Conductor Steven Reineke and Program Director Brian Worsdale. They pushed me to become better in every aspect of my playing and I am forever grateful for them. However, what made this year different was that I was given a full scholarship to French Woods Camp of the Performing Arts. When I attended the camp that summer, I discovered many new opportunities to improve as a player. The experience helped me discover my love for orchestral music.
In 2020, when I was again accepted during my eighth grade year, music was shut down throughout the world and there was little opportunity to play. However, The New York Pops was adamant about keeping the music going through Kids on Stage. They made the program a one month intensive with interactive zoom meets and sectionals. During an extremely rough year for all of us, they kept us engaged and once again helped us improve.
Christopher in 2021
For the past two years, I have been blessed to be a part of the National Youth Orchestra as an incoming freshman and sophomore. Without the Kids on Stage and French Woods partnership, I wouldn't have received tickets to see the National Youth Orchestra perform live, which introduced me to the program. I can confidently say that without Kids on Stage I would not be where I am today. The program has provided an abundance of opportunities for me, ultimately helping me become a better musician and person. The experiences have instilled strong morals of musicianship, professionalism, and dedication which I carry with me every day of my life.
Watch Christopher and the 2020 Kids on Stage perform "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"
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Kids on Stage is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Originally published August 2021.