Calista Stafford | Staff Writer
Junior Ben Hummel, violinist, performed at the Sydney Opera House in Australia this summer with the High School Honors Performance Series orchestra.
“[The best part of playing at Sydney was] probably the sound. It was insane. You would play, and it would just keep going on forever,” Hummel said. “I’ve never played [in] anything that big. I felt pretty pumped [before going on stage at Sydney]. Also anxiety. I was sweating.”
Hummel, along with several other students in the High School Honors Performance Series, were selected to travel to Sydney to participate in one of several prestigious opportunities to further their musical careers.
“A year ago my middle school director nominated me to perform at Carnegie Hall, and after that I was told to audition for the Honors Performance Series,” Hummel said. “The audition process is just filling out a few forms and playing an excerpt for them.”
Playing at Sydney Opera House was an opportunity available to a few students who proved to be unique performers. According to Hummel’s current orchestra teacher Laura Deaton, not only will Hummel’s performance over the summer be a valuable addition to his future college resumes, it will also provide him with a widened perspective of different musicians and playing styles.
“Benjamin’s greatest strength in orchestra seems to be his observation/listening skills,” Deaton said. “He has the ability to listen to himself as well as the rest of the orchestra and can immediately and thoughtfully point out positive and negative aspects of the sound as a whole.”
While this is the first time Hummel has been chosen for an international performance, he is not new to the orchestra spotlight and what it takes to reach these higher levels.
Hummel’s favorite memory of playing viola took place a couple years ago when he played a group one solo and received a perfect score at the ISSMA state competition. A perfect score entails lots of practice and an ability to not only listen to the music, but to also critique the sound.
“In order to receive a perfect score at ISSMA, a student must steadily and persistently practice a specific piece with much feedback from his or her teacher with many lessons,” Deaton said. “It is not incredibly common to receive a perfect score, especially at the higher levels as Benjamin is.”
Whether performing at CG, at Carnegie Hall, or in the Sydney Opera House, Hummel continues to practice and prepare for wherever his skills take him next.