Bells stRING together at Spring Concert

by Ani Janakiraman ’26

Bellarmine is a special place that showcases a wide variety of talents in different activities. The Speech and Debate team is recognized nationally and statewide, recently winning sweepstakes for the top team in the state. The basketball and football teams compete for WCAL titles yearly and are also competitive in the state. However, one certain talent often falls through the cracks and goes unrecognized. When traveling through the busy hallways of Sobrato Center, we hear pleasing music from the basement, but the Orchestra students are hard at work, playing a variety of challenging pieces from composers like Mozart, Vivaldi, or Grieg. Many would agree that music is a vital component of expression and a way to understand ourselves. With applications like Spotify or Apple Music, we can listen to music whenever we wish. However, we can’t listen to orchestra concerts on demand, whenever we desire. Recently, the Chamber Orchestra participated in the Spring Concert on Monday, May 1s, and the Sobrato Theater was packed with a large audience. The Chamber Orchestra at Bellarmine is a string orchestra that features musicians that play the violin, viola, cello, bass, and piano. It welcomes students from different musical backgrounds and experiences. The Bell Online was able to interview two of the orchestra’s most talented members: Jeffrey Bao ’26 and Nathan Lee ’23. It was great getting to know their experiences and perspectives on the orchestra.

© Tim Suh


Nathan Lee ’23:

Q: When did you start playing the instrument?

A: I started playing my instrument (the violin) when I was in 5th grade. 

Q: Do you take private lessons, and if so, do they help?

A: “I took private lessons throughout middle school and up to sophomore year. I believe that private lessons do help in correcting things like proper form, technique, sound quality, intonation, and overall understanding.”

Q: Why did you join BCO?

A: “I joined BCO because at the time it was a fairly new class at Bellarmine and it was a way to continue playing the violin.”

Q: What do you like about BCO?

A: “What I like about BCO is that I get to be around some of my closest friends while at the same time playing the violin.”

Q: What was your favorite year in BCO, and why?

A: “My favorite year in BCO has to be this year for sure. Since its my last year I’ve really learned to cherish all the class meetings and members of the orchestra.”

Q: Knowing you’re a senior and this was your last concert, what did it feel like?

A: “I definitely felt it was a good conclusion and ending at Bell. I felt happy but at the same time sad because I know I won’t be able to playing with the amazing musicians in BCO.”

Q: How do you think BCO has impacted your high school experience

A: “I feel that BCO has impacted my time at BCO in a positive way. It allowed me to make new friends when I was first a freshman and I am super grateful for all the past upper classmen and especially Mr. Kim.”

Q: Will you continue playing after high school’s done?

A: “Yes, I think I will definitely continue to play in my free time, but not very often.”


Jeffrey Bao ’26:

Q: Describe your musical endeavors before you arrived at Bell. Which instruments did you play and what do you play now?

A: Before Bell, I played both violin and oboe. Now I only play violin (although I might come back to oboe who knows?) With violin, I was in the 2022 All-State JHS String Orchestra last year, and I’ve won a couple competitions. For oboe on the other hand, I’ve played three years in my middle school band as principal oboist, and we’ve performed at CMEA.

Q: Do you take private lessons and participate in an outside of school orchestra, and if so how does it benefit you?

A: I’ve taken private lessons for 10 years on violin. I’m not currently in an outside youth orchestra, although I was in All-State for two years.

Q: Why do you like music and what impact does it have?

A: Music is really important to me because it helps me destress especially after a long school day. I think the reason I like to play music is because I like to listen to music, so I want to sound as good as I can. Music can also connects people all over the world; I’ve learned a lot about other cultures through music.

Q: Knowing you’re a freshman, how have you enjoyed BCO this year?

A: I think BCO is a fantastic community, and since I’m not in any outside orchestra, it gives me the experience to work with other people in a musical setting.

Q: What was your favorite piece you played in BCO this year?

A: My favorite piece is the Holberg Suite, I would say the fourth movement Air is especially nice to listen to.

Q: How did the spring concert go for you and the orchestra?

A: I think the spring concert went well for BCO. As for me, I definitely messed up a few times, but I don’t think the audience noticed too much.

Q: Knowing you are a gifted musician; do you hope to continue your musical journey after high school

A: First off, there are many other gifted musicians in our orchestra such as Bryan Im ’26. In fact, he won the Most Valuable Player Award. As for music after high school, I’m not sure yet. I’ll probably still play music as a hobby, but I doubt I’ll be able to major in it.


There we have it folks! Jeffrey won the “best newcomer” award and Nathan won the “4-year member” award at the concert. Although this was the orchestra’s last performance of the year, they are not done yet. They will have many more concerts next year, so come on by to watch this talented group perform. Not only did the orchestra perform well, but the band also did a phenomenal job at the Spring concert and are a skilled group too. By reading this article, I hope you guys know more about the Chamber Orchestra program at Bellarmine, and attend many of their concerts in the future, as they are a fun group to watch and listen to.

Ani is a Staff Writer for the Bell Online. In his free time, he enjoys playing sports with his friends. He consistently publishes articles about campus events, clubs, and sports.

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