Wendy Zhuo, a Campbell High School student, is one of two Georgia students chosen for the ensemble run by the National Association for Music Education.
She puts the honor simply: “Music is my life.”
“The day I found out I was in the symphony orchestra, I screamed and jumped up and down,” Zhuo said. “My mother was taking a nap that afternoon, and she woke up and asked me why I was so excited.”
She points to her parents, who have encouraged her musical education, as the main reason for her success. From a young age, she says, they have given her an appreciation of the art.
“I still remember wondering how a stick — the bow — with some hair on it could saw the steel/gut strings of the violin and produce a sound as beautiful as it can,” Zhuo said. “It shocks me.”
Though she’s a young musician, her orchestra director says she already has what it takes to be a successful musician. It’s her dedication and perseverance that sets her apart.
“This is truly an honor for any high school musician, as only the finest musicians from around the country are selected to participate,” said Georgia Nicholson, orchestra director at Campbell High School. “The level of competition is very high, and we are extremely proud to be represented by Wendy.”
Having the opportunity to perform with her talented peers isn’t the first honor she’s received.
Zhuo was given the National Orchestra Award at the end of middle school and was named the Most Outstanding IB Musician of the Year.
No stranger to the stage, she has performed in the 2012 All-State Orchestra and the 2011 Statewide Honor Orchestra and, for the last four years, the Cobb County Honor Orchestra.
“I absolutely love music in all forms, whether it be a dance, a live orchestra performance or even a YouTube home video,” she said. “I really have learned to appreciate that music really changes the way people live.”
Nicholson says it’s not just Zhuo’s passion for music that makes her stand out from her peers. Zhuo pushes herself academically and is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate degree program, a challenging curriculum that offers college credit to high school students.
“Her talent and infectious personality challenge the other students to be better musicians; at times, I feel like she inspires me to improve as an educator,” Nicholson said.