Instrument: B-flat clarinet
Hometown: Moorhead, Minn.
Piece: Carl Maria von Weber — Concertino for Clarinet
Why do you love to perform?
I do not usually enjoy being the center of attention, especially in front of people I don't know very well. Public speaking is never something I look forward to, although I can get through it without making a fool of myself. It may be surprising, then, to find that I love to perform. The first time I ever had to perform a lengthy solo where I had to stand in front of the band with the spotlight on me was in eighth grade. I was nervous, but it was a different feeling than the one I got before presenting a poster-board to my eighth grade Social Studies class. It was a feeling of happy anticipation that, when I began to play, melted away. Since then, I have always gotten the fluttery butterflies in my stomach before a performance, but I have never disliked playing my clarinet in front of an audience of people I don't know well. When I play, I don't need to feel self-conscious about saying the wrong words or not being able to convey what I'm feeling. I can let the music speak for me. People have always said that music is the universal language that everyone can understand, and I believe that's true. Playing my clarinet is a way for me to have fun and express myself in a creative way, and I love sharing that with others. It is one of the rare occasions where I enjoy being the center of attention.