Spring Mills High School musicians raising funds for New York trip

SPRING MILLS, W.Va. — Two sophomores at Spring Mills High School are among 800 students from around the world chosen to be part of the 2018 Honors Performance Series.
Rhea Ming and Travis Weller were two of more than 18,000 people who applied for the opportunity to be on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York next February for a five day trip that includes a number of rehearsals and performances.

The Spring Mills students have a unique opportunity.

Spring Mills High School Orchestra Director Dr. Jeannine Sturm got a letter last school year about the opportunity and immediately thought of her students.

“They made all state as freshman. Why not? I’ll nominate them,” Sturm said during Panhandle Live on Friday. “This looks like a great opportunity for them to play at Carnegie Hall.”

Sturm said submissions were made back in July so Weller and Ming waited for several months to find out whether or not they would be accepted.

Weller said he was riding the bus when he got a call from his mother.

“I didn’t believe her at first and then she was crying on the phone. I was shocked and amazed at the same time,” he said.

Ming was equally excited when she got the news.

“’Mom, I just got a text. I’m in. I’m in!” she said. “It was a huge moment because it felt like everything I had worked for like seven years, this was like a culmination of that.”

Weller, who plays stand up bass, and Ming, a viola player, both want to make music part of their careers and are excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Before they can make the trip they each need to raise $2,000, and that doesn’t cover food or travel expenses.

And if their parents want to come it will cost even more.

Go Fund Me Pages have been established to help cover the cost, one for Weller and one for Ming.
Sturm said it is an opportunity to grow as musicians and get a leg up when it comes to their educations.

“At least it will strengthen their resume,” she said. “I think it will definitely help them be at the top of the pile.”

Weller is looking forward to being around like minded teens.

“I’m really excited about working with fellow bassists and getting to know other people around the world.”

Ming said she also sees value in the networking opportunities the series will present.

“I would really love the opportunity my age who are as passionate about music as I am,” Ming said. “I would just love to connect outside of playing at Carnegie Hall.”

Ming and Weller will be in New York from Feb. 1-5, 2018 for several days of rehearsals with renowned conductors leading up to their life-changing performance at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium.

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