Three Freshmen Students Selected to Play at Honored Orchestra Event

Kerui Yang, staff writer

This year, three Edina freshmen were selected to represent Edina High School at this year’s annual Minnesota Music Educators Association convention. These three students, Sara DeFor (violin), Michael Dunn (viola), and Ryan Koo (cello), were chosen for their outstanding auditions. All three freshmen are going to play in the Middle Level Honor Orchestra, which is comprised of the best seventh through ninth grade artists throughout Minnesota.

These three students went through an online audition in order to be chosen. “[There were] two scales, a solo piece, [and] one excerpt that I had to play, record, and send to the administration,” Koo said. For the performance on Feb. 24, they now have to learn four news songs to perform. “We have to learn four songs. ‘Hungarian Dances’ numbers five and six, ‘Protector of Osmir,’ ‘Peer Gynt Suite,’ and one more Western one,” Dunn said.  

Dunn and Koo started their instruments in the fifth grade, whereas DeFor originally started with the clarinet, but “my dad insisted that I played violin in the sixth grade,” DeFor said. However, all three of them have developed a passion and love for their string instruments. “The sound of [the violin] is very good. I also love the opportunity to play with other people in an orchestra,” DeFor said.

Playing an instrument teaches the artist many lessons about problem solving and overcoming hardships. The amount of time and patience needed in order to grow as a musician is daunting, but ultimately, the process is rewarding. When asked about her experience with the violin, DeFor said that “It’s taught me to keep trying, no matter how many mistakes [I] make.”

With just a couple of days before the performance, the students are practicing vigorously and are looking forward to the convention. The event takes place at the Minneapolis Convention Center and is open to the public. “I am looking forward to the convention, it’ll be cool being in the front and seeing all of the people,” Dunn said.