Youth Orchestra tuning up for 2012-13 season

by Eren Tataragasi

More than 100 students from the Union County area auditioned this year for a chance to perform with the Union Symphony Youth Orchestra. Photo courtesy of Union Youth Orchestra

INDIAN TRAIL — Two weeks ago, the Union Symphony Youth Orchestra held its annual auditions for the 2012-13 concert season. More than 100 students came out to audition for the coveted spots.

Those who earned their spot on stage for next year include:

First violin: Jessica Caviness, Corina Donica, Rebecca Gaskins, Elise Gilliam, Alyssa Jones, Aathmika Krishna, Casey McGuirt, Suzanne McLendon, Lakshmi Prakash,  Catrina Rateb, Irmak Saklayici, Jessica Turcotte and John Paul Zalaquett.

Second violin: Victoria Amaral, Mary Kathryn Barry, Emanuela Elisei, Glaubersil Figueroa, Stephen Gaynier, Erica Jordan, Sunnie Kwak, Kelly Manning, Taryn Miller, Alexis Mitchell, Savannah Rollins, Lydia Tabor, Andrew Traywick and Megan Zhang.

Viola: Marissa Berger, Delaney Brigman, Shireen Iyer, Hannah Javidi, Shaun Rainey, Khala Shoulders, Kate Stevens and Kristina Wang.

Violoncello: Benjamin Adams, Sean Berger, Jordan Bjerken, Ivy Conatser, Rachel McNichols, Nadia Neman, Kathryn Quinn, Ashley Wise and Connor Frunzi, first alternate.

Violoncello double bass: Kailey Gaskins, Moriah Kimel and Mark Miner.

Flute: Iris Chong, Dayna Hagstedt, Justin Laramee (doubling on piccolo) and Anna Honeycutt, first alternate

Oboe: Garrett McCloskey, Morgan Guinther and Zoe Branson (doubling on English Horn).

Clarinet: Jordan Laird, Rebecca Mulligan, Melissa Fu, first alternate and Kyrsten Rudock, second alternate.

Bass clarinet: Max Robbins and Aaron Hougui, first alternate.

Bassoon: Nicholas Laramee and Mariah Croffut.

Horn: Walter Bonar, Sam Strader, Philips Clarke, Tommy Donagan and Alexander Adams, first alternate.

Trumpet: Kyle Johnson, Matthew Bishop and Kahliq McCorkle.

Trombone: Melissa Hagstedt, Adrienne Bonar and Drew Baucom.

Tuba: Ben Laramee

Percussion: Samantha Kuhn, Amber Dennis and Devonry Supria.

Concertmaster for the 2012-13 season is David Donica.

And for its exciting fourth season, the youth orchestra welcomes its new director Tom LaJoie, who also is the director of the Symphony Orchestra at UNC Charlotte.

“He has extensive experience at all levels of music education from elementary through college level,” said Union Symphony’s Executive Director Kim Norwood. He has taught orchestra, advanced placement music theory, and IB music in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system for 19 years. He also has been guest conductor for various honor ensembles such as the Western Region Repertory Orchestra and the York County Senior String Honors Orchestra.

“He has a great deal of experience with full orchestras as well, has frequently programmed for his top ensemble at Myers Park and for the symphony orchestra at UNC Charlotte,” Norwood said. “Being a string pedagogue, LaJoie brings these skills to instruction for technique to achieve the best sound possible in performance. We look forward to this season with Tom LaJoie.”

And this year, the youth symphony orchestra also has added USYO Prelude, a junior string orchestra, and they will be under the direction of conductor Sabrina Howard, the former president of the N.C. School Orchestra Association. She is currently the strings instructor at Charlotte Latin School with more than 20 years of teaching experience.

The USYO Prelude is made up of Genna Rivers, Olivia Gerik, Lucy Liss, Cecilia Atwood, Sarah Austin, Paula Bravver, Jacqueline Adams, Johanna Jackley, Sarah Mills, Anna Honeycutt, Defne Akyurek, Abril C Ruiz-Lopez, Zealy Helms, John Trull, Gilles Turcotte and Mikaela Austin on violin, and Connor Frunzi on cello.

For more information on the Union Symphony Youth Orchestra, visit

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