Rustburg, VA- Bobby Carlson, 15, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City this week. Carlson was a finalist in a national piano competition. He has other interests, too, like being on the soccer team, but music is tops in his heart. He entered the American Protege contest by submitting a Youtube video of himself playing the piano. On Monday, he and the other finalists sat down for the concert of a lifetime.When Carlson got the email saying he was a finalist and heading to NYC, Bobby Carlson exploded with joy."I freaked out and ran throughout the house screaming," said Carlson.Carlson has been playing the piano since he was eight."It had always been like my childhood goal, like dream, to go play at Carnegie Hall," said Carlson.But he never expected it would happen."Getting to actually go fulfill that dream was kind of amazing because I really didn't think I would get an opportunity like that," said Carlson.Carlson played for close to 300 people, a much larger crowd than he's used to.He says it was a bit nerve-wracking."Especially having to wait backstage for a good hour and 45 minutes or so," said Carlson.But when the time came to touch those keys, he was ready."Kind of a rush really, I didn't have much time to think about being nervous or think about messing up, I just kind of went up and played," said Carlson.It's certainly rewarding to see one of your students have this type of success and get this type of recognition," said Rustburg High School Principal Clayton Stanley.Here at home people, are beaming with pride. Those at Rustburg High School are blown away at Carlson's opportunity."What a great kid, a great student, to have the courage to apply to this contest and to have the recognition that he's getting. Just getting the opportunity to go to New York is just, I can't think of anything better for him," said Stanley.Many say it's a great example for other students too.You wanna see every student be successful and go out and do well, it's good you see one here who's a sophomore in high school, have this opportunity and represent himself and Rustburg High School," said Stanley."I feel extremely lucky to get such an opportunity like this." said Carlson.After the principal heard Bobby Carlson play for our camera today he was awe-struck. He asked Bobby if he'd be willing to play the song he played at Carnegie Hall for the entire school this afternoon for the underclassman awards ceremony. Bobby agreed to, and the Principal says he couldn't think of a better way to end the school year.
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