The beat goes on overseas

Even some of the country's greatest musicians do not always get the opportunity to play for an enthusiastic crowd in Europe, but Justin Pestuglicci did.

He even got to perform for several crowds when he traveled to Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Austria and France as part of the American Music Abroad program over the summer.

In order to qualify for the trip, Pestuglicci needed to be recommended by a music instructor. The 17-year-old was recommended by Lon Walker, one of the band instructors at Colonie Central High School.

Walker said Pestuglicci has taken part in three to four New York State Music Association performances per year a major feat in the music world. Pestuglicci plays percussion and the xylophone.

That's the biggest reason I recommended him," he said. "He always goes above and beyond the call of duty."

Walker also said that Pestuglicci was selected to play in the All-State band, a band made up of some of the best student musicians in the state.

"He's just an outstanding musician," Walker said.

This is not the first time Colonie Central High School has recommended a student for the American Music Abroad program, however, only one other student has participated.

After being recommended, students go through a qualifying process to see if they are right for the program. The student also has to turn in an audio tape of them performing.

Pestuglicci said the recommendation was made in October 2008, and he went on the trip in July.

On the trip was a full wind ensemble and chorus, Pestuglicci said.

"We performed six concerts, [including] one at the American Cemetery in Luxembourg Gardens," he said.

The groups also performed in Austria and Germany, and every time, had a unique experience when it came to the audience, Pestuglicci said.

"Playing there was such an awesome experience. It was probably the greatest feeling," he said. "Just how the audience received us, they were very, very enthusiastic."

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