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Boerne High School band student plays at Carnegie Hall | Kids Who Make SA Great

Connor West may have nabbed three solos at Carnegie Hall, but it means nothing to him without those who supported his Boerne journey.

BOERNE, Texas — Carnegie Hall, says Connor West, is his most rewarding performance. But the Boerne High School senior said he did not take this journey alone.

"It seemed really complicated. And I remember learning the first couple of positions," Connor said.

In the sixth grade, he picked up the trombone. According to the young musician, he got inspired by a music teacher the previous year.


By seventh grade, 'Bertha' entered his life. The two are an award-winning duo; Bertha is the name he gave to his trombone.

She's brassy and requires attention to get what he needs from her.

"Taking it and playing it when we're not like required to was the most important thing I learned," he said.

Connor's parents, Jason and Jennifer West, have no background in music. But he did understand the value of hard work and its yield.

"There was no moment, right An epiphany. There he is. He's great. I mean, it's just one of those things continuing to work and continuing to progress. And over time, he just kind of the cream rises to the top." 

Connor got private lessons and even developed a fruitful relationship with Boerne High School Band Director Daniel Person.

"The love of music and making music and the camaraderie that we have is the most important thing," Person said.

According to Person, he can't take credit for the motivation and music coming from Connor's trombone. He admits to giving his band student some direction, but the rest, he said, is Connor.

''Less than 1% of kids make all-state in Texas--even less than that make All-state two years in a row. And then, of course, you add on the new york trip that he did. That's huge," Person said.

Person played at Carnegie Hall as a band student but not like Connor. The Boerne teen and his family found out he was a finalist in the 2023 Honors Performance Series in New York City. The series brings together top musicians worldwide to play in places like New York and Sydney, Australia.

"That's some of the most difficult music I've ever played," Connor said.

He and Bertha made for a formidable team. Connor got first chair and played three solos with the ensemble.

"That's been my source of bragging, frankly. I think all of my friends are sick of hearing about that," West said. "I mean, it's Carnegie Hall, right?"

The performance was in February, but the memory is still with the Wests and Boerne High. Connor said it was only possible with his middle school instructors, band director, and parents.

"It was spectacular," Connor said.

NYC and his blossoming future continue to work out for him, Bertha, and their support ensemble.

"I love the trombone," he said. "It's the most superior instrument of all other instruments." 

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