By LAYANN BASILEH
Orchestra is not an art that can be defined by one individual or instrument, but rather it is made up of the talents of many, interweaving the sweet melodies of string, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments into one breathtaking piece. This sense of togetherness is one of the qualities of orchestra that has enchanted violinist Phil Chen (Jr.), who was nominated as March’s Artist of the Month by Ms. Grace Lee (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.).
Even with nine years of violin experience under his belt, Chen finds being a part of UHS Orchestra to be incredibly enriching. He said, “The biggest take away from the experience is getting to be with a diverse group of people, both upperclassmen and underclassmen. In most other classroom settings, you don’t get to interact with peers in different grades on a close level.” Mrs. Lee said, “[Chen] has grown to become a natural leader in the way he plays the violin.”
Being a part of something much bigger than himself has not only given Chen a chance to befriend many of his his fellow students, but has also strengthened his skills as a violinist. “I’ve learned to be more attentive as a player, being more aware of my surroundings and paying attention to the players around me,” he said.
Participating in Orchestra is not just fun and games though; it requires hours of practice and effort. Chen practices the violin everyday, which he admits was tedious at first. However, over time, practice has also become a time for Chen to relax, and watching his skills improve has become a source of enjoyment. “[Playing the] violin has taught me to strive for perfection, because you can’t shoot for anything less,” he said.
Chen plans to continue being involved in an orchestra or performing in a string quartet in the future, rather than becoming an independent violinist.
Chen mentioned that he once feared performing in front of an audience. Yet as time went on, he began to love it, finding thrill in watching how a performance affects and changes the mood of the audience. Mrs. Lee said “ [Chen] doesn’t just play the notes on the page, he has a very expressive quality when he plays.”
Chen recommends that anyone who has an interest in Orchestra should definitely give it a try. He said, “I’ve found that the most successful people are the ones who aren’t afraid to be themselves or go for what they want.”