Emily Russell (2012-2015)
Ash Stemke (2007-2009)
Camden Stohl (2015-2019)
Olivia Hakan (2013-2017)
Annie Jewell (2008-2013)
Sophia Han (2001-2004)
Connie Chen (2001-2008)
David Haskins (2008-2012)
What do you remember most about your WSYO experience?
WSYO was my favorite musical outlet as a high-schooler, and it played a crucial part in my decision to dedicate my life to music. It was the first time I had ever participated in a full symphonic orchestra, and I'll never forget hearing that sound for the first time. I looked forward to each and every rehearsal, and I practiced diligently to learn the difficult music. I loved working with Dr. Errante, performing professional-level repertoire, including some of Errante's own music, serving as Concertmaster for the first time, helping and guiding my peers, and attending the summer strings festival at UNCW.
Do you still play your instrument?
Yes, for fun and professionally.
What have you been up to since you left WSYO?
I left Wilmington in 2012 to attend Appalachian State University, where I majored in violin performance, studying under Dr. Nancy Bargerstock. I won a contract with the Johnson City Symphony as their assistant-principal second violin in 2013 and played with them until I moved in 2016. I performed solo with the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra in 2014. I also performed solo and in the violin section of the Symphony of the Mountains. During my last year of undergrad I went abroad to Barcelona, Spain where I studied Spanish and took violin lessons with Kai Gleusteen at the Liceu Conservatory for 7 months. I returned to Boone, graduated early, and moved to Reno, Nevada in 2016 because I was offered a full ride and a Graduate Teaching Assistantship at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2018 I finished my Masters in violin performance, studying with Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio. During the past three years I have participated in Round Top Music Festival in Texas, and AIMS in Graz, Austria, won a contract with the Reno Philharmonic, and have performed with other ensembles such as the Reno Chamber Orchestra, Susanville Symphony, and Fresno Philharmonic. In May 2019 I began work as the Youth Ensembles Manager for the Reno Philharmonic, overseeing all aspects of our four youth orchestras and free after school violin program, which in total comprises almost 500 students. I have come to love my life here, although it is far from home, and I've become an avid lover of the outdoors; anything from hiking to skiing to kayaking. I still play violin every day, teach regularly, and am very passionate about music education and its importance in the community.