TOPEKA (KSNT) – Seaman High School student Tristan Vila is bringing his skills to the Big Apple. He won an international contest that will take him to Carnegie Hall February, 2024.

Vila started his musical journey in his 6th grade elementary orchestra as a cellist. When there was an opening in the orchestra the following year, he volunteered to learn the upright bass.

“My passion for bass went above all the other [instruments],” Vila said. “The feel, the groove, and the role it plays, I think I really gravitated toward that. The bass is the most attached I feel to an instrument.”

This past spring, Vila received a life-changing email, inviting him to audition to play at renowned music venues around the globe. He says he knew from the start that he would pursue the opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall. In September, he sent in a video audition.

“It’s just so far-fetched if you make it and so I wasn’t too stressed about it, I just did the best I could. It was very cool to get the response back,” Vila said.

Vila told 27 News that he’s barely been out of the state, so the opportunity to play in New York City is it’s an “amazing feeling.”

For Vila, music is more than just notes on a page.

“Music is where I can feel most like myself, most confident, most comfortable,” he said. “I don’t express too many emotions very often, through music, that opens up.”

“Despite even navigating the profound loss of our father earlier this year, Tristan’s passion for music has never dimmed,” Tristan’s brother, Andre Vila, said.

Vila told 27 News that if he is ever having a rough day at all, “definitely just a few minutes on an instrument can change it.”

The humble musician doesn’t take all the credit for where his skills and passion have gotten him so far. He had a long list of teachers and mentors to give credit to.

“Since the beginning, it’s been the people around me who have built me up and given me support, and advice. If I was doing this on my own, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to here,” Vila said.

Click here for the GoFundMe to support Vila’s trip. Any extra funds will be used to ensure Tristan’s mother, Tonya, can also be in New York to proudly watch Tristan’s performance, according to Andre Vila.