Only 64 Chosen from Across the Country for Prestigious Ensemble
LAKEWOOD, OH - Lakewood High school student musicians Chelsea Polk and Danny Toner, both cellists, have been selected to perform with the National Association for Music Education’s All-National Honor Orchestra, which will perform in June at the Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. They are among only 64 in the country chosen for the honor.
Polk, a junior, and Toner, a sophomore, will rehearse and perform with renowned conductors and some of the nation’s best high school musicians when they travel to Washington on June 21 for three days of rehearsals capped off with a performance on Sunday, June 24 as part of NAfME’s Music Education Week, which entails events throughout the week in the Baltimore-Washington area. The National Honor Orchestra will be joined in that performance by the national honor ensembles for Band, Mixed Choir and Jazz Band.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors from across the country were eligible to audition and had to submit two scales, two etudes and a one-minute solo excerpt. To have two students selected from the same section in a school orchestra is rare, said Lakewood High School Orchestra Director Beth Hankins. Polk and Toner participated earlier in the year with the Ohio Music Education Association’s All-State Orchestra.
Both Polk and Toner said that “surprised” was their reaction when Hankins told them of their selection in to the prestigious ensemble. The opportunity to play with the best high school musicians in the country is what they are most excited about.
“You know you are going to be playing in an orchestra that is just top-notch,” Toner said.
Hankins said participation in the national ensemble by two of her students will help raise the level of musicianship and standards with her other orchestra students as well.
“Danny and Chelsea's acceptance is not only a tribute to them as musicians, but also to their parents, their private teachers, the Lakewood High School Orchestra program and the Lakewood community,” Hankins said. “Without our commitment to excellence in music and beyond, our students would not even have had the opportunity to apply. This is the results of hard work and high expectations…We are very proud!”