Robert Kohler, an eighth-grade orchestra student at McAllen ISD’s Fossum Middle School, has been selected for the 2018 Middle School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. 

He submitted a recording and application for the competition and was chosen as one of just 45 middle-school students out of thousands from around the world for this performance. He will perform as String Bassist at Carnegie Hall in June 2018 with the Honors Junior Orchestra.

“He is an exceptional student,” Fossum Orchestra Director Brian Miller said. “He does things on his own without being asked. He practices a lot. (He) probably puts in more practice time than any other student I’ve ever had.”

Participation in one of the three Honors Ensembles is limited to the highest rated middle-school performers from across North America and select schools internationally.

“I play the (string) bass mainly because it’s one of the best instruments, in my opinion,” Kohler said. “It sounds really cool. I just really love the genre of classical music and I really, really love to play.”

Kohler auditioned this fall for the Honors Performance Series and was accepted after a review by the Honors Selection Board. Acceptance to the elite group is a direct result of the talent, dedication, and achievements demonstrated in his application and audition recording.

“It’s very, very competitive,” Miller said. “The fact he got selected out of thousands of students that applied is a very big honor for him.”

Robert will join other performers from 44 states, several provinces of Canada, Isle of Man, Mexico, and Taiwan.

“Being selected to the Honors Performance Series is something each Junior Finalist should be extremely proud of accomplishing,” Program Director Nancy Richardson said. “We process thousands of nominations annually, selecting only the most talented performers. Working with these conductors and performing at Carnegie Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that these student musicians never forget.”

Kohler has studied music for three years and is a member of the Fossum Varsity Orchestra and has performed with the TMEA (Texas Music Educators’ Association) Region 15 All-Region Orchestra for two consecutive years.

He wants to continue studying music and to someday enter The Juilliard School in New York City.

“After that, I hope to play in one of the prestigious orchestras like the Boston Pops,” Kohler said.

Junior Finalists will come together for five days in June in New York City to have the opportunity to learn from Kirt Mosier, work with other Junior Finalists, and get a taste of New York City. The Saturday, June 23, performance is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased beginning 60 days prior to the performance through the Carnegie Hall box office.

Rowe High Orchestra Director Olga De Leon helped with his application and recording. She is also his String Bass Teacher.

In McAllen ISD, high school music directors also work with middle-school music students each week to strengthen the programs across middle school and high school.

McAllen ISD has been selected as a national Best Community for Music Education for five straight years by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). 

The Honors Performance Series was created to showcase accomplished individual high school and middle school performers on an international level by allowing them to study under master conductors and perform in the celebrated venue, Carnegie Hall. The Honors Performance Series is proudly presented by WorldStrides, the nation’s leading educational travel organization. Learn more by visiting and

To help the Kohler family raise the money for Robert to perform at Carnegie Hall, there is a Go Fund Me page at this address: