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3 students to perform with UNC orchestra

	Audrey Cook, a senior music performance and mathematical decision sciences major, is a cellist.

Audrey Cook, a senior music performance and mathematical decision sciences major, is a cellist.

Three student musicians will perform today as soloists accompanied by the UNC Symphony Orchestra in the William S. Newman Scholarship Series concert.

The annual concert highlights two to four student soloists considered to be among the best musicians at UNC.

This year’s soloists are vocalist Sarah Humphrey, cellist Audrey Cook and trumpeter John Parker.

Humphrey, a senior music education major, said she spends most of her time student teaching in an elementary school music class.

“I’m having rehearsals with just me and this 90-person orchestra,” she said. “To come from doing folk dances with my first graders in the morning to rehearsing these arias in the evening is surreal.”

Tonu Kalam, the symphony orchestra’s music director and conductor, said prospective soloists go through a two-part audition process to be selected from their peers as the chosen performers.

The students are selected by a group of judges from various parts of the state.

Parker, a junior music education major and recipient of the full-tuition Kenan Music Scholarship, said it is an honor any music student at UNC is lucky to receive.

Parker, who has been a member of the UNC Symphony Orchestra for several semesters, said he is nervous but excited to perform in front of the entire orchestra.

“It was pretty intimidating at first — it kind of felt like I was in over my head a little,” Parker said. “But professor Kalam has done a really good job of getting me comfortable in the setting.”

Parker will be playing a trumpet concerto by the Armenian composer Alexander Arutiunian.

Kalam said pieces like this add to the show’s diversity.

“This concert has a great variety for the audience, and it showcases different areas of talent within the department as well,” Kalam said.

“We have a lot of double majors in the music department — in fact, some of our best players are players that are not going to go on to careers in music.”

Audrey Cook, a senior cellist majoring in music performance and mathematical decision sciences, will be playing a cello concerto by Antonin Dvorak.

Cook said being able to play the concerto at all is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, especially because she doesn’t plan to pursue a career in performance.

“Winning it is a big opportunity, because playing with an orchestra is not something you get to do every day,” Cook said. “I will be surprised if I ever get to do it again.”

Cook said she is excited and prepared for today’s performance.

“It’s nerve-wracking, but it’s also fun at the same time,” she said. “I also get to put on a fancy dress and be in the spotlight for a while, so nobody dislikes that.”

Humphrey also said she does not plan to pursue a career in music performance — she said she plans on becoming a music teacher.

However, she said she recognizes what an amazing chance singing with an entire orchestra will be.

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“We’ve worked so hard these four years to master our craft,” Humphrey said.

“I’m excited to just be able to sit backstage with them and enjoy that little moment of glory.”

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