Bren honors concert put students on a world-class stage

by Tom Berg

More than 650 Irvine Unified School District students performed at Segerstrom Concert Hall recently for the 36th annual Donald Bren Honors Concert.

“Stepping onto the stage where I had watched my violin idols perform seemed like a fantasy,” said fifth-grader Evelyn Lai, of Cypress Village Elementary. “I could not believe I was given that opportunity.”

The concert was made possible in part by Irvine Company’s commitment of $45 million to the district, ensuring that every student in grades 4–6 receives highly qualified instruction in art, science and music. More than 80,000 students have participated so far.

The concert gave students a taste of a grand performance — from spotlight to nerves to applause.

Viola player Katie Chen, 10, offered this advice to next year’s musicians: “Do your best. And take deep breaths, in and out.”