Siouxland Stories: Siouxland tubist selected as alternate for Carnegie Hall youth orchestra

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — A North High School sophomore first picked up a tuba when he was a 5th grader. A few years later, he ranks as one of only two students age 14-17 from across the nation to be selected in Carnegie Hall’s NY02 National Youth Orchestra.

Students ages 14-17 from across the nation audition for Carnegie’s Hall’s NYO2 National Youth Orchestra. Only a few spots are available for each instrumental section of the orchestra, and only two tubists are selected, one for the main orchestra and one alternate.

North High School sophmore Michael Toben earned a spot as an alternate for the 2021 Summer NYO2 National Youth Orchestra.

Toben said that he comes from a family that knows a thing or two about music.

“My family is all musical,” said Toben. “My dad was a four-year All-State basoonist, my mom is a former band director, my mom is a percussionist and former band director, and my sister is a percussionist and violinist. Yeah, I just think it’s kind of a family thing.”

Toben said that playing the tuba is an activity that he can keep doing and continue mastering his craft.

“Something that I could do and get into and there was never a completion point. You were just constantly striving to get better and with other things, it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re done now,'” said Toben.

Toben explained the whole process of being selected to perform in Carnegie Hall’s NYO2 National Youth Orchestra.

“For NYO Orchestra, there were over 100 tubas that tried out for one spot. Beginning of June, they released excerpts of the work,” Toben said.

He recalled when he heard that he was selected an alternate for the national orchestra.

“I was in a class and I got the email. It read like a rejection letter and so here we go. I totally didn’t think that I would get it because it’s just crazy, so I was totally distracted for the rest of the day, Toben said. “I’m an alternate, so I didn’t get any music. If the person that got the spot can’t attend, I will get an email and we’ll go from there.

Toben said that even though he received this honor, he’s focused on just getting better.

“Always for everyone, a challenge to strive to be better, and that kind of applies to everything including music, and so I’m just always trying to get better and play more and do everything,
said Toben. “The incentive to become a part of these elite ensembles is important.”

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