Arts

Zoe Yu ’23 Named 2022 YoungArts Finalist for Classical Singing

COURTESY OF ZOE YU

Ever since she was a toddler, Zoe Yu ’23 has had a passion for singing. Yu’s musical journey has taken her from singing with her parents to earning the title of Finalist in the 2022 YoungArts Competition, one of the most prestigious arts awards for high school students in the United States. 

“I was so happy when I got the acceptance call from Miami, because this is something that I’m new to, and there are so many people out there who are probably more experienced than I am… But YoungArts saying, ‘we think you’re ready to attend,’ was really encouraging for me,” said Yu. 

As one of the eight Finalists for the category of Classical Singing, Yu attended National YoungArts Week, a week-long program filled with masterclasses that led to a final performance, which took place online this year due to the pandemic. Even though the duration of the program was short, Yu noted that she was able to develop exponentially as an artist with the help of YoungArts mentors and her peers. 

“[YoungArts Week] really gave me the time and space to work more intensively on my singing, technique, artistry, [and] my interpretation of songs. I felt like I became so much more conscious about my art form. One theme that came up a lot during the week was the idea that artists are always giving and always expressing… and my peers at YoungArts embodied that artistically generous spirit. I was able to learn so much through our conversations,” said Yu. 

Yu and her peers also came together to learn how to create an immersive and captivating performance. Despite all being admitted for the same discipline, there was a diversity in each participant’s expression and tone that allowed for a collaborative learning and bonding experience. 

“One of the things our mentor would say is that ‘as artists, we have to learn the art of appreciating and complimenting people,’ and I was able to recognize that with me and my peers. Despite all being singers, we each have an individual form of self-expression, and that’s so powerful,” said Yu.  

According to her peers at Andover, Yu deeply embodies this passion for art and shares it with others through her participation in Chorus, the Chamber Music Society, Fidelio, and acapella group Downbeat. Duncan Wong ’23, Yu’s friend and fellow beatboxer in Downbeat, believes that singing is a key aspect of Yu’s identity. 

“You can just tell how much she loves singing. She would just break into songs in our conversations, actual songs or random melodies she comes up with. As a beatboxer, I would sometimes sing some tunes while working on my loop station, and she would just jump in, sing my part, and correct my pitches and we have a lot of fun together. If she’s not singing, you know something is wrong,” said Wong.

Although her brief time at YoungArts came to a close, Yu believes that the lessons and experiences she shared at the program will stay with her forever. According to her, she ended the week with a better understanding of her passion for singing and how she will further develop it in the future.

“YoungArts was so supportive of all these different artists, and they would celebrate and see your strengths and your willingness to share your gift with the world. For me personally, I was able to recognize my desire to create art beautifully and continue connecting with different artists globally and using my art to serve the world. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Yu.