Students earn spots in regional honor orchestra


Kelli taylor

Freshman Deepika Sitaraman and sophomores Victor Nguyen and Jackson Burnette all earned spots in the North Central Honor Orchestra in early October.

Jordyn Daniels, Reporter

Three orchestra students were recently chosen for the highly-selective North Central Honor Orchestra, the most Harding students to have collectively earned spots in the group.

Freshman Deepika Sitaraman and sophomores Jackson Burnette and Victor Nguyen auditioned on Oct. 7. NCHO is an honor orchestra for string orchestra students in grades 7 through 12 in the North Central Oklahoma region. Only students enrolled in a school orchestra program can audition.

Over 700 students auditioned for the three orchestras, making the odds to get in difficult. Nguyen has earned a spot in the honor group every year starting in the seventh grade. Nguyen claimed 16th chair in the second violin section of the group.

“It feels great, I really felt accomplished after all the work I put in practicing for my piece. NCHO is always a fun experience,” Nguyen said.

Burnette has also been a member of NCHO since the seventh grade. He took third chair double bass.

“Being a part of NCHO is a great experience to play with other musicians you know and can learn from,” Burnette said.

Sitaraman snagged 15th chair viola, moving up from her previous spot at 16th chair last year in the 8th-9th grade orchestra.

Director Kelli Taylor said she was proud of what her three students accomplished.

“These students worked hard on their own to prepare for this audition,” she said. “Auditioning can be terrifying, but learning to push past the nerves is an important skill to learn, and I’m so proud that these students, and the other students who auditioned but didn’t make the cut this year, faced that challenge. They’re better musicians for it.”

The clinic and concert will be held Nov. 17-18 at Oklahoma City University. Kirt Mosier of Lee’s Summit West High School will conduct the high school orchestra, and Dr. Mark Laycock of Wichita State University will conduct the 8th and 9th grade orchestra.