Though long into the year, the resilience of orchestra students has yet to cease. Everyday, new challenges and speed bumps emerge, yet the ability to never lose sight of the magic of music is what keeps us together. This month, the spotlight points to a particular student who has been kind, cheerful, and bright in class everyday. Not to mention, she’s also a multi-talented musician. We are proud to present Janice Wu as our April Student of the Month!
Janice plays the cello in Symphony Orchestra. She began her music journey by playing the cello in the 5th grade. Although she has experimented with many instruments such as the violin and flute, she ultimately chose the cello. Janice fell in love with the cello because of its “deep and rich lower register.” She mentioned that “orchestra has definitely become my second family.” Her peers in the cello section have motivated her greatly through bonding events throughout the year.
However, cello isn’t her only source of inspiration; Janice also plays the oboe. She first discovered the oboe in 4th grade, but her elementary school didn’t allow her to play since it was a “complex and challenging instrument.” In 7th grade, she managed to rediscover the oboe after listening to a piece on the radio.
“What attracted me to the oboe was beautiful, melodic oboe solos in orchestral repertoire, such as Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, and Beethoven Symphony No. 3,” said Janice. Playing two instruments at the same time may be challenging, but the valuable time spent with her peers has made the extra effort worth it.
Music also plays a huge role in Janice’s life outside of her school day. She has been playing the oboe in the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO) Philharmonic. She acknowledged, “I'm incredibly grateful for all the ensembles I play with, whether at school in the orchestra…or [with] outside organizations.” Janice believes being able to be part of the various ensembles allow her to gain knowledge of a wider variety of repertoire.
In her free time, Janice partakes in solving jigsaw puzzles, reading books, and binging movies. Janice has also expressed her passion for jazz, which is drastically different from traditional orchestral pieces. She stated, “I also love jazz; it's so different from classical music, where it follows fewer rules and requires improvisation, and the singing style of jazz will always have a place in my heart.”
Janice also extends her generosity by devoting her time to volunteering. She has been really involved in music related opportunities such as being the student manager of the PYSO and volunteering at the Pasadena Symphony and Pops Concerts from time to time. These experiences have helped Janice see how orchestras run “from conception to concert.” However, her current goal as a musician is to “make a difference and empower people.” For Janice, seeing people respond to her sharing her music by smiling or nodding has really made her heart swell. She is really touched whenever she performs at retirement homes or charity concerts, no matter how big the impact to others are.