Colten May soon may have an opportunity to add yet another musical accolade to his name.
The Garden City High School senior recently accepted an invitation to perform at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia with an honor band through Honor Performance Series. The 2018 High School Honors Performance Series will take place July 18-23.
May said he initially received an email notifying him that there were spots open for the series.
“I sent an email back and said, ‘What spots are open?’ I thought if there were no euphonium spots, then there’s no need in me auditioning. They said just send in your materials and if a spot opens up, then you got it, and I got a finalist spot,” May said on Tuesday, noting that he is still surprised he was accepted. “I thought ‘There is no way.' I still don’t have words.”
According to a press release from Garden City USD 457, the High School Honors Performance Series at Sydney Opera House builds upon the heritage of the Carnegie Hall Series and challenges accomplished ninth to 12th grade musicians at one of the world’s most recognized and revered performance institutions: the Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House.
“Selected finalists will spend six days in Sydney, where they will study under master conductors, experience the highlights of ‘the Harbour City,’ and get to know accomplished musicians from around the world,” the press release states.
In Sydney, May will have the opportunity to perform with his euphonium, the same instrument he played in New York City last month after he he was selected for the 2018 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Participation in one of the five Honors Ensembles is limited to the highest-rated high school performers from across the world, according to a November press release from USD 457.
It was there where May joined performers from around the United States, in addition to Guam, six Canadian provinces, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, South Korea, and the United Kingdom for a special performance at the world-famous Carnegie Hall.
May said experiencing New York was "outstanding."
“If you build an expectance for New York, you’re just going to be blown away when you get there. It was really cloudy, so the first time I saw it was when we flew in. The clouds opened up, and it was just — I cried,” May said when recalling his time in the Big Apple.
May said he wouldn’t know what to expect if he gets to go to Australia.
“I don’t even have any expectations for that because I haven’t even thought about going to Australia until this,” he said, adding that it would be his first time traveling outside of the United States, and he would be going alone, unlike when his family went with him to New York.
Despite being accepted into the program, there is still a price tag for the trip that May would need to pay out of his own pocket to get there.
“I need about $6,000 in about four months… the event is in July, but I need to pay up by June,” May said.
May said he currently is fundraising just by word of mouth and going to businesses to see if he can find sponsors. So far, he has raised enough money to pay for his passport.
May is using his personal Facebook page to post updates and as a method of collecting donations, he said, though he is working on creating a public Facebook page.
Those interested in donating also can mail a check to 1604 Safford Ave. in Garden City, or can contact May at (620) 805-2131.
May said he wanted to thank any potential donors for helping a small-town Kansas kid’s dream come true.
“I want this to be a platform for hardworking kids to see that there is an outcome for hard work,” he said. "That this is a way to advertise what Garden City is and what we have here. It shows the product we have coming in and coming out of Garden City. That’s a testament to all the good things going on in Garden City.”
Contact Josh Harbour at firstname.lastname@example.org.