Eusung Choe performed at the All-Eastern Honors Ensembles in Atlantic City earlier this month, a prestigious competition for high school music students.
PLATTSBURGH — A group of local high school students participated in one of the most prestigious musical competitions on the east coast earlier this month.
The 2017 All-Eastern Honors Ensembles, held from April 5 to 8 in Atlantic City, featured the most talented student musicians in band, mixed chorus, orchestra, treble choir and jazz.
Like an all-star Eastern Division team, only the top student musicians who also qualify for another higher level ensemble can participate.
Around 300 students across the eastern seaboard made the cut, including Eusung Choe, a senior at Plattsburgh Central.
For Choe, who plays the trombone, the opportunity was a big deal.
“Up here, we don’t really put much of an emphasis on music — it kind of gets left out,” Choe said. “Up in the North Country, there aren’t many opportunities to get out to play — it’s all school-related.”
But he found himself in Atlantic City, New Jersey preparing for a series of concerts at the Atlantic City Convention Center with his peers.
Preparations were intense, and the group — which included several additional students from Plattsburgh Central — rehearsed steadily all week ahead of the performances.
Finding himself in the spotlight was surreal, but also enlightening because he got to connect with his peers from New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and elsewhere in New York.
“Any opportunity to play with kids across the state, and across the country, it’s a very enlightening experience,” Choe said. “I get to meet kids better than me, and I learn from them, as they are my teachers for a few days.”
Choe has made lasting friendships with pals from across the region, not only at this competition, but also at the All-Nations, the nationwide component in which he participated last year, the equivalent of the Olympic Games.
The graduating senior sees music in his future: He recently has been accepted to Boston University to study music performance, and will soon select a second field of study for his double-degree program.
“Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to play music,” Choe said.
And he’s not the only member of the family to have demonstrated sonic chops.
His older sister, Eunice, is an accomplished violin virtuoso.