Carnegie Hall Welcomes Bingham High Student


Alex Thomson plays his saxophone at a benefit concert in December

Jeff Newbold and Gavin Leavitt

When junior Alex Thomson first picked up a saxophone in the seventh grade, he was mostly interested in the art credit that playing the instrument would provide. He wasn’t, however, expecting an immediate passion for the brass woodwind. Now Alex plays in five bands, and one of them is preparing to play at the famed Carnegie Hall in New York City.

When he was in ninth grade and looking for new opportunities to play, Alex auditioned for a program called Caleb Chapman Music (CCM) stationed in American Fork. This program includes gifted high school musicians from all across the state; however, Alex was not intimidated and successfully made the cut. He now performs in two bands from that program, a soul band, and a Latin big band. The program’s director, Caleb Chapman, sent recordings of the Latin band to the “bigwigs” at Carnegie Hall, and they were soon selected to play with several other bands at an event in May.

Undaunted by the fact that the venue has played host to artists such as Harry Belafonte, Duke Ellington, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Alex said he is excited about the opportunity.

Alex listens to a lot of Jazz music, unlike many of his peers. He recently performed at the Peaks Jazz Festival, where he was able to meet many celebrated musicians. This is another perk of being in Caleb Chapman Music, as his director is often able to introduce the band to famous jazz performers.

For Alex, there are many differences between the bands at Bingham and those at Caleb Chapman Music. As a member of Jazz Band, Wind Symphony, and the popular Bingham band Lost & Found, he enjoys playing with his schoolmates. However, since CCM is a tryout program, he says there are more advanced players, and he likes that.

“I’ve also met a lot more people, so I have a lot of friends across the state,” said Alex.

Alex’s advice to aspiring musicians is simple yet practical. “Try to practice a lot,” he said. “I don’t like practicing, but when I look back I feel like I should have practiced more.”

Nonetheless, Alex’s hard work seems to be paying off, and in a big way. Performing at Carnegie Hall is no small feat for anyone, much less a high school student, and it’s obvious that he is up for the challenge. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Alex.