This week’s Student Feature Friday is senior Sarah Kennedy whose passion for music has become a major part of her life. In addition to singing, Sarah plays flute, guitar, piano and ukulele. She is a member of the band, participates in Act Two & Harmonics, and for the second year in a row, is representing Holliston at the All-State Festival. The Massachusetts Music Educators Association hosts the annual District and State level music festivals allowing high school music students to participate in advanced ensembles during the year. Through an audition process, the students first audition for their district’s festival (of which there are 5 districts across the state) in November. Half of the students who are accepted to either the band, chorus, orchestra or jazz band, are then recommended to audition for the State level festival. That festival happens in March and involves two days of concentrated rehearsals in Boston and then a concert in Symphony Hall.
Sarah described her first experience at the All-State Festival last year as a little nerve racking, as she was the only one chosen to represent Holliston. However, she also described the experience as pretty incredible and is looking forward to returning this year. She enjoys expressing herself through music and being able to put emotion to the notes. To Sarah, singing in the choir is the best feeling because it allows for everyone’s voices to come together to make one big, beautiful sound. She looks forward to continuing music in college and is thankful for the teachers who have strongly encouraged her to pursue her musical interests and talents.
Q: During our conversation we discussed your participation in All-States last year. What was your biggest take-away from this learning experience?
A: For me, the biggest take-away was the fact that I was constantly surrounded by people who loved making music just as much as I do. Because of this, I gained great friends that I still keep in contact with now. It was amazing to meet others who had such strong passions in not only music, but other areas as well.
Q: When did you first begin participating in the choir and how has your experience in the choir shaped your love of music?
A: I first started participating in choir in fourth grade when my music teacher urged me to audition. I ended up earning a spot in the choir and I’ve performed in singing groups since then. Choir has shaped my love of music by allowing me to work with others in such a different way than I was accustomed to and pushing me to become the best musician I can possibly be.
Q: When given the choice of describing music as a hobby or a passion you chose passion. Why is this so powerful for you?
A: Music has always been in my life and has constantly surrounded me, between family, friends, and myself. It became a passion once I started performing with school groups and beyond school and I’ve also met some of my greatest friends through it. It used to be a hobby, but has become such a huge part of my life that I wouldn’t be complete without it now. While I’m pursuing science as a career, music is just as strong of a passion for me that I will continue to keep it in my life in any way I possibly can.
Q: What advice would you give to students who want to become more involved in music but are hesitant about their skills?
A: The advice I would give to those students would be to just go for it. With music, you can’t be afraid to try new things, whether that might be joining a new music group or learning a new instrument. If you don’t go for it, you could potentially miss out on a new passion within music and lose opportunities. This didn’t come naturally to me-I had to constantly push myself to try things that I never thought to attempt. Though it was hard at first, I discovered new things about music that I love and became more confident in my abilities as a result.