By Jason Wesseldyk
From Otsego to New York City.
Margaret Dugan, a 2023 Otsego High School graduate, was recently selected for the Honors Performance Series that will perform at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in February.
Dugan will play string bass in a group of 500 performers from around the globe, including Guam, the Virgin Islands, South Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan in addition to the United States.
Dugan’s initial response when informed of her selection?
“I get to play where famous people played!”
Marion Gomez is the music director for the Honors Performance Series.
“Being selected to the Honors Performance Series is something each finalist should be extremely proud of accomplishing,” Gomes said. “We processed nearly 10,000 nominations this year and have selected the most talented student performers from around the world.
“Working with these conductors and performing at these renowned music halls is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that these musicians will never forget.”
The performance is slated for Sunday, Feb. 11, and will take place under the direction of world-renowned conductors.
“I’ve heard from people that the acoustics in (Carnegie Hall) are astonishing and that you can hear everything,” Dugan said. “Also, the amount of musical history that has taken place there is insane and it’s amazing that I get to be a part of it.”
In addition to the performance itself, Dugan and the other performers will work with master conductors and build a performing resume. They will also have the opportunity to experience cultural highlights of the Big Apple and do some sightseeing.
“It should be an awesome experience,” Dugan said.
Dugan grew up around music, as her older brother was active in the band during his time at Otsego Middle School and Otsego High School. Still, Dugan didn’t sign up for band in sixth or seventh grade.
“I didn’t end up joining (the middle school band) until eighth grade because they needed a string bass player,” Dugan said.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Dugan, who is finishing up the early college program through Lake Michigan College this school year, is currently in her sixth year of her musical journey. In addition to her classes at Otsego, she has been part of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra.
Dugan often uses the Otsego High School band room to practice after school and she takes lessons twice a week for percussion and string bass at Western Michigan University with bass professor and percussion graduate assistant.
“I really want to become a professor of music and teach music at a higher level someday,” Dugan said.
It’s that hard work that helped Dugan receive an audition with the Honors Performance Series.
“I received a letter from the honors performance series saying that I was nominated to apply,” Dugan said. “I then recorded a video of me playing along with a personal essay expressing why I wanted to go.”
In order to take part in the Honors Performance Series, Dugan needs to raise $4,000. Anyone wishing to sponsor a portion of the trip can contact Dugan at (269) 286-3334 or email@example.com.
“Please call or email me if you have any questions or want to hear more about this really great learning opportunity,” Dugan said.