Creative Pursuits Over Spring Break

Two Phillips Academy students Angela Kim ’12 and Alex Donovan ’13 spent their Spring breaks pursuing their musical and artistic passions. Kim competed at the Music Teachers National Association Competition and Donovan competed at Regionals for the global non-profit organization Destination ImagiNation. Angela Kim ’12 With her violin as her constant companion, Angela Kim ’12 ventured from Dublin to Milwaukee over her spring break to perform in magnificent Irish churches and at an elite national competition. Along with members of the Phillips Academy Chorus, Fidelio Society and Chamber Orchestra, Kim spent a week exploring and performing in Ireland on the Cantata tour. For Kim, highlights included performing a piece by Vivaldi with a professional lute player and enjoying a traditional medieval style dinner— no forks allowed. While most students on the Cantata tour finished up their final performances of spring break in Ireland, Kim anxiously awaited another challenge. For the second half of her vacation, Kim traveled to the Music Teachers National Association Competition in Milwaukee. Kim competed within the Senior Strings Section, which included musicians between the ages of 15 and 18. Other sections included woodwind, brass, piano, voice and composition. Prior to qualifying for the national level, Kim took part in the state and regional level competitions last winter, winning first place in both. However, her experience at the National competition was unlike anything she’d done before. “It was the biggest competition I’d ever taken part in…I’ve never been involved in a National Level competition before so I was really, really nervous,” said Kim. At the earlier competitions, Kim had performed in front of a panel of three to four judges and an additional five or six spectators. At the National Competition this spring, her audience included 20 to 30 music teachers and their families. Her performance, which was 35 minutes long, consisted of Vieuxtemps’ “Violin Concerto No. 5,” Shostakovich’s “Violin Concerto No. 1” and Beethoven’s “Violin Sonata No. 3.” With three technically challenging pieces, Kim spent quite some time preparing. “Yeah, it was tiring,” said Kim. Kim was honored to share the company of some of the best and most promising young musicians in the nation. She had the opportunity to witness spectacular performances at the Winner’s concert. “There was this little, tiny girl probably only about six years old…and she composed a piece that was five to six minutes long which is really impressive, and she played it in front of maybe 500 people who were at the Winner’s Concert,” said Kim. Another girl Kim had watched perform was only in middle school, but had already debuted with the Seattle Symphony and other professional orchestras. Although Kim did not leave Milwaukee with an award, she could be proud of herself for overcoming her nerves and performing her best. “I played very well and I was calm throughout the performance…and although I didn’t win, I think it was a good experience for me,” said Kim. Who knows, maybe next spring she’ll return to school as winner of the Music Teacher’s National Association Competition. For the many of us who have had the chance to witness her awe-inspiring performances at ASM and Grasshopper Night, we know that she’s capable.