Two WLHS Freshmen girls claim seats in America’s First Youth Orchestra

Two WLHS Freshmen girls claim seats in America’s First Youth Orchestra

While juggling academics, sports, and clubs, two freshman girls have dared and succeeded to excel in yet another extracurricular, music. Theresa Li, freshman, and Miki Nakai, freshman are both part of the Portland Youth Conservatory Orchestra (PYCO), which is within the Portland Youth Philharmonic (PYP) community.

“When I first got into PYP, I had only played the cello for nine months, so I didn’t expect to get in,” Li said. Li picked up the large string instrument, the cello in sixth grade and joined PYCO after just a year of playing her instrument. She admits it took a lot of dedication but with enough practices, she was able to get where she wanted.

“If you practice a lot, you get really good and you’ll eventually be able to reach your goal,” Li said. But after realizing she had zero experience of playing in a full orchestra, she began feeling apprehension. However, that uneasiness soon disappeared after playing in PYCO for a few weeks and was replaced with love.

Nakai was first introduced to the cello in third grade. But after watching her older sister play her violin with a fiery passion, Nakai wondered if she should switch to the violin as well. Now, if Nakai was given a choice to switch instruments, she’d stick with her cello without a second thought.

“Instead of the high violin or the medium viola, I really love the deep tone the cello has,” Nakai said. After six years of playing the cello, Nakai decided to audition for a seat in the Portland orchestra. After she finished auditioning, she didn’t have much confidence of being accepted. During the sight-reading portion of her audition, she missed notes and accidentals. But instead of breaking down, Nakai was able to hold together and finish.

“The judges looked at me and said, ‘We know it’s hard,’ so that helped me take a bit of weight off my chest,” Nakai said.

You can also listen to what thousands of hours of extreme commitment and hard work results in tomorrow at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in downtown Portland. Tickets cost 12 dollars per adult and 10 dollars per child.