Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “music is the gateway to the soul.” Many would agree that music is one of the most essential forms of artistic expression, as well as a key component to understanding our own humanity. In this age of digital playlists and unlimited access to our favorite songs, few people are acquainted with the beauty of hearing a complex piece unfold in real time. This is why Bellarmine is fortunate enough to have its own distinguished orchestra group, operating under the Chamber Orchestra course for grades 9-12. They offer performing opportunities for string musicians of all talents, from the violin to the double bass. Bell Online was lucky enough to secure an interview with two of the orchestra’s most gifted members, Nathan Lee ’23 and Francis Nguyen ’23, and asked them about their experiences. This is what they had to say:
Q: What initially drew you to start playing an instrument?
Francis: My parents first introduced me to the violin. I started playing the violin outside my orchestra, and they convinced me to switch by asking me if they give me one year of free lessons and a free bass, would I be willing to switch. I said yes and I started playing double bass for orchestra at Bellarmine and outside.
Nathan: At my elementary school they had a music program and they offered the violin, and I chose it because I liked the sound quality.
Q: Tell us about your experience playing the bass prior to joining the Bellarmine orchestra.
Francis: I played the bass for four years before Bellarmine, and I continued to play outside Bellarmine once I started here.
Nathan: At my middle school we had this chamber orchestra, so I was a part of that for two years, and I took private lessons.
Q: If you had to play another instrument, what would it be and why?
Francis: Well, I also play the piano, but if I had to play another instrument, the harp sounds interesting, but I feel like a wind instrument would also be interesting.
Nathan: Probably some sort of jazz instrument, maybe saxophone because I’ve been listening to jazz music lately.
Q: Can you tell us about the concerts and other performances you’ve done this year?
Francis: For Bellarmine, we’ve only had one concert so far, the Season of Hope Concert in December. We have another concert in June.
Q: Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve played in orchestra so far?
Francis: We’re playing a cello concerto called Haydn. I really like that one, it sounds pretty interesting.
Nathan: I’d have to agree with Francis.
Q: What do you think orchestra offers that other extracurriculars don’t?
Nathan: I’d probably have to say the atmosphere of being around the same people. It’s really nice because you see the same faces and get to know them pretty well. And also Mr. Kim is a really great teacher. He’s a really funny guy, so it makes class a lot more fun and enjoyable.
Francis: And also, you learn new skills, like music theory and playing with different people. So you improve those skills.
Q: When and where can people see you perform next?
Francis: So usually it’s in the Sobrato Theatre, and every three months we usually have a concert. So I think the next concert will be in Sobrato too.
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of hearing this class perform, come see them at their next quarterly concert. You can find more information at https://www.bcp.org/academics/visual-and-performing-arts. Show them your support; you won’t regret it!