"As soon as I walked onstage, I had the chills."
Not many youth musicians have played at Carnegie Hall in New York.
But when Amelia Dubs, 13, of Plainfield, performed there June 23 as part of the 2018 Middle School Honors Performance Series it was only fitting her mother, Susie Dubs, was in the audience.
Susie also had played the clarinet in school, which inspired Amelia, who recently graduated from Troy Middle School, to pick up the instrument in fifth grade and participate in band.
"It gave me confidence, and when I'm with a band, I feel like I'm part of something bigger than myself," Amelia said.
So when Amelia submitted her audio audition for the performance series, she played "Beauty and Joy," which Susie had learned in high school.
"It was very important to me," Amelia said of the song. "I thought this would be a good time to learn it."
For Amelia, the clarinet is important in several ways. One is its sound.
"There were thousands of applicants from all over the word. What are the chances I would make it?'" Amelia said. "But my family believed in me. They knew I could do it."
Susie said Amelia submitted her audition in October and learned of her acceptance in April.
In the meantime, her family went to work on raising the $2,000 tuition for Amelia to participate in the performance series.
Board was included, but meals and travel for her and other family members were not. To generate funds, the family created signs from pallet boards and sold them at craft shows and online, Susie said.
For Amelia, participating was thrilling in two ways. One was, of course, the opportunity to perform on a world-renowned stage.
"I was definitely not expecting it to be as big as it was," Amelia said. "I've been on large stages before, but this completely blew my mind."
The second was sharing the experience, not just with her family that attended, but with other youth musicians.
"I was very excited to have my first trip to New York City be with kids who are as passionate about music as I am," Amelia said.
Family members who attended were Amelia's parents Brad and Susie Dubs, her sister Peyton Dubs and her grandparents, Pat and Bob Kehoe of Plainfield and Lee Hennes of Plainfield.
Amelia said she and the other musicians spent about six hours a day rehearsing with their instructor Curt Ebersole.
Because Amelia realized the immensity of this "once-in-a-lifetime experience," she appreciated the time spent with him, especially learning six new songs from a deep perspective.
"He wanted us to know that the songs we played had a story to them, that the people who wrote them, the composers, had a life and a family," Amelia said. "A lot of these songs we played had deeper meanings to them than what we heard, so he wanted us to focus a lot of emotion as we played them."
Amelia loves the clarinet and plans to continue playing it.
"I think the flute and clarinet are truly some of the most beautiful sounding instruments. They just flow," Amelia said.
Goal: I'm paying clarinet in high school all four years and also doing marching band. I think getting to know people that love music as much as I do makes huge bonds between people. I think it's a really good healthy experience for high school, somewhere we can go after school and be all together as a band and just work really hard together."
Favorite composer: I really like Tchaikovsky. I think most of his pieces have a lot of emotion to them and I just found them to be very beautiful."
Words of Wisdom: Work hard, push yourself out of your comfort zone and keep going. It really does pay off."