BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s rare for a high schooler to write a musical composition for an entire concert band, let alone get to perform it live.

That’s exactly what Canisius High School senior Andrew Jiho Kang got to do this week.

Kang grew up with music. He plays the violin, cello, piano, French horn, trumpet, and sings.

Two years ago, he started writing his own composition. This school year, he was given a reason to finish it.

“When I met Miss Johnson and she told me it would be a possibility for me to perform that was incredible,” he said.

Miss Jennifer Johnson is the band director. This is her first year teaching and said she had no idea what to expect.

“On the first day of school, Andrew came up to me and introduced himself and I knew he was something special from the beginning the way he carried himself,” she said. “I trusted his ability once I saw he wrote his music. This is something I would expect of college students, music majors, not so much teenagers in high school.”

His song, entitled “Kang’s Piece,” is an adaptation of two pieces, Gustav Holst’s “Planet Jupiter” and “Beautiful Lies” from the South Korean drama, The Doctors.

Andrew said he had to go through each instrument individually to see what sounded best.

He also added sections to give each band member a chance to shine.

Andrew said when the time came to perform at the spring concert Tuesday, he was nervous.

“My first reaction was literally to look away. I was embarrassed. I was happy, I was excited but I was also really, really nervous. I mean, there’s the whole theater kid kind of vibe, not everyone’s always as big on music,” he said. “Once it finished I looked up and I looked over to the audience, it was loud. It was louder than anything I’ve ever been a part of here. Everyone was cheering for me and for the band and I was really happy about that.”

Johnson also said it was like nothing she’d heard before.

“I’ve never heard such a student body go crazy over a student and be so excited and cheer him on, it was a really surreal moment,” she said.

Tuesday’s concert was Andrew’s last at Canisius. He’ll be attending Boston College in the fall. He won’t be majoring in music, he opted for economics and psychology, but he said he’ll never stop pursuing music.

He also plans to write another piece for Canisius High students to play at next year’s spring concert.

He said he’ll never forget that feeling he had Tuesday night.

“It’s like a fantasy that you think you can get it but it always just seems a little too far in front of you but to have it happen right in front of me and to do it before I leave this place which means so much to me, I can’t put my emotions into words, it’s incredible.”

Students interested in more information about Canisius and its music program are invited to a Spring Open House on Sunday, April 24.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.