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January SOTM: Aurora Cong

January was filled with dedicated musicians working hard on their chamber and Orchestra Benefit Dinner pieces. However, one devoted musician stood out from other orchestra members this month. She is a spectacular musician whose devotion to orchestra gained the attention of her peers. We are proud to present Aurora Cong as the January Student of the Month!

Aurora is a senior who plays the cello in Symphony Orchestra. She says, “I first got into music in first grade because a lot of people around me in school were beginning to pick up instruments at the time.” One of her main inspirations to play music was “to be like people on TV and in movies who played piano.” This aspiration influenced her to learn the piano and start her musical career.

In elementary school, there is an event when students can choose an instrument from a vast array presented to them. After seeing the instruments, Aurora wanted to pick the viola, because the “name sounded cool”, or clarinet, which “looked like a recorder.” Coincidentally, her piano teacher had connections with a cello teacher which made her believe that learning the cello was a more convenient option.

Being a musician has positively impacted Aurora’s life. She believes that playing music has helped her become more attentive by counting rhythms and working together with a large orchestra. Practicing is also a massive stress reliever for her. Having orchestra in between two academic classes has helped her relax and take a short break.

Aurora’s piano playing definitely didn’t waver after she picked up the cello. In fact, she has completed the entire Certificate of Merit piano test, which tests the individual on theory and playing skills. She completed level 4, level 6, level 8, and the advanced level, receiving honors on all of the levels she took! This is a major accomplishment because getting to the advanced level requires a lot of practice and studying to pass, especially with honors. Additionally, many pianists stop taking the test since the levels progressively get harder.

Orchestra has helped Aurora make wonderful connections throughout her high school years. She states that, “My life has definitely been impacted through all of the friends I’ve made over the past four years.”

In her free time, Aurora enjoys watching movies, napping, reading, listening to sad music, and hanging out with family and friends. She has also developed more appreciation for instrumental music due to the exposure she gets from orchestra.

Although she explains, “I consider myself a pretty casual musician compared to many,” her dedication to piano, cello, and music as a whole is a massive accomplishment. Once again, let's congratulate Aurora Cong for becoming January Student of the Month!

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