A Stroke of Excellence


Photo by Junhee Ryu

Andy Son focuses on his cello techniques by playing Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Symphony No.8” in class.

Junhee Ryu, Business Manager

Music students have participated in the Irvine Unified School District, All-Southern and All-State Honor ensembles, but none have ever performed with All-National. Until now. Sophomore Andy Son has been selected as a member of the Music For All-National Festival 2018 Honors Orchestra of America and will perform from Mar. 14-17 in Indianapolis, Ind.

To be accepted into such a prestigious ensemble requires not only musicality, but also immense dedication and perseverance. Son has spent about an hour each day for a month and a half on his two audition repertoires, each one about four minutes long. His efforts received a payoff when he was accepted into the ensemble, in which only about 15 cellos are chosen each year across the entire nation.

“I feel extremely honored to be able to surround myself with talented individuals who sacrifice lots of their time to music from all over the country,” Son said.

Son is the cello section leader in Symphonic Orchestra, and his leadership is frequently demonstrated in class as he often assists section members with various tips and techniques.

“He’s on task; he’s also helpful and thoughtful of other people’s needs, which contributes to his leadership,” visual and performing arts department chair Desmond Stevens said. “He’s also well-rounded. He’s not just a musician; he’s an athlete; he’s a scholar; he kind of does a little bit of everything.”

When he decided to take a risk with challenging solo pieces for auditions, he kept pushing himself forward to come close to perfection. However, for Son, this opportunity is not just about music; it changed his perspective on life as well.

“Now that I know my potential, when I truly devote my effort and time, I feel like I will be able to achieve even more beyond just music,” Son said.