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Strings Students Perform in 2024 All-State Orchestra


At top, Cashier Brooks ’26, Kylie Scott ’24, Benya Wilfret ’25, Karolyna Huntanar ’27, Mo Zheng ’25, Rainy Ye ’27, Sam Caplan ’26 and director Pamela Kelly gather before their performance Feb. 25 at ECU; at bottom, students practice for their auditions.


Seven Upper School Strings students performed in the 2024 Eastern Regional Orchestra on Sunday, Feb. 25, at East Carolina University in Greenville.

Representing Ravenscroft in this year’s event were Kylie Scott ’24 (violin), Mo Zheng ’25 (violin), Benya Wilfret ’25 (violin), Cashier Brooks ’26 (cello), Sam Caplan ’26 (cello), Karolyna Huntanar ’27 (violin) and Rainy Ye ’27 (violin). 

These performers were selected for participation from among a competitive pool of approximately 300 students from private and public schools in the region after a series of rigorous auditions before a panel of judges in January, in which the students performed an excerpt from a collegiate-level piece, scales and arpeggios, and sight-reading. Ravenscroft fine arts faculty who assisted with the preparation for the auditions and clinic included Pamela Kelly, Anne Leyland, Nate Leyland and Tasi Matthews.  

The weekend-long event included an intense rehearsal schedule heading into the performance, which took place in the historic Wright Auditorium.

Mo Zheng ’25 said of the experience, “Practicing may have been nerve wracking, but once you truly spend time with other musicians from other districts and schools, you realize how everyone else felt the same. In the end, music is an instrument to build relations with other like-minded people.” 

“The ERO clinic this year was an unforgettable experience that emphasized the unique ability of musicians to grow exponentially during a couple days of concentrated and passionate work,” Kylie Scott ’24 added. “It was an honor to be surrounded by so many talented individuals for the weekend.”

Kelly echoed those sentiments. “Music is a unique collaborative and creative experience that has the power to connect people of different languages, races and cultures in a process that requires the utilization of critical thinking skills, problem-solving, math, science and language,” she said. “All-State Orchestra offers young musicians the opportunity to immerse themselves in this amazing world with both peers of the same intellect and musicianship as well as professionals who are eager to share the legacy of excellence with a new generation of musicians.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed being able to play in a large-scale orchestra with musicians from all over the region and receive instruction from excellent musicians to explore a variety of repertoire,” Karolyna Huntanar ’27 said of her participation.

“ERO is an essential experience for any string or band player,” All-State veteran Cashier Brooks ’26 said. “I always look forward to performing on such a grand stage with so many new people every year!”

North Carolina’s All-State Orchestra is a program of the North Carolina Music Educator’s Association and the National Association for Music Educators.