Archer musicians attend CAIS Honor Music Festival


Featured soloists, Audrey Koh ’17 and Hannah Kim ’20, at the CAIS Honor Music Festival that took place at Viewpoint School this past weekend. Image courtesy of Ms. Burns.

Seventeen Archer students. Twelve hours. Three days. Three featured student soloists.

On Feb. 3 and 4, Archer musicians attended the California Association of Independent Schools’ Honor Music Festival at Viewpoint School. Senior Audrey Koh was a selected violinist, freshman Hannah Kim was a selected cellist in the orchestra’s group performance and freshman Audrey Choate was chosen to sing a solo in the choir.

Fifteen different independent schools gathered at the festival from all over Southern California.

“It is a honor festival, which means teachers nominate students who feel that they are of a caliber to learn music quickly and to come together and put a performance on with a group of people they have never met,” performing arts teacher Kate Burns said.

Both Kim and Koh have been in orchestra since they started Archer.

“Ms. [Susan] Smith and I nominated students who we thought would be interested. We ended up with two string players as well as 15 singers. So, there are two choirs … so we had nine girls in the treble choir and six in the concert choir,” Burns said.

Seniors Aggie Alperovich, Claire Zeller, Talia Natoli, Lina Jegeus and sophomores MaeLea Williams and Caroline Ediger sang with the concert choir. Freshmen Willa Frierson, Audrey Choate, Kylan Gould, Anouk Braun, Faith Hernandez and Anna Brodsky sang in the Treble Choir along with eighth graders Claire Helscher, Emma London and Vivian Tierney.

The group drove to Viewpoint that Friday, signed in and began rehearsing. Later that day, they auditioned for solos.

“The violins went first and the cellos went last, and that was stressful,” Kim said.

Both Koh and Kim were excited when they learned they received solos.

“I had a feeling that I didn’t make it, so when they wrote my name on the board I was like, ‘is there another Hannah?’ and then they said it was me,” Kim said.

Koh was excited for the opportunity.

“It was really nice,” Koh said. “It was a new opportunity, and it was really exciting to be on stage with other people to perform.”

Burns said that Koh and Kim are “both wonderful musicians.” Freshman Audrey Choate was also one of the three soloists to perform in the treble choir.

Koh started playing the violin when she accidentally walked in on one of her sister’s lessons. She begged her mom to let her play, and once she started, she developed a passion.

“Art is a way to express your emotions in a creative way, and I have that with music,” Koh said. “Playing a piece and interpreting it with my style and my emotion is really cathartic.”

Koh is in two community service organizations that involve playing instruments. Kim credits her cello as a distraction from anything that is on her mind.

“[Cello is a] kind of hobby that I like to do. So, when I am stressed, I can just play,” she said.

Koh and Kim were two of the four featured soloists in the orchestra.

“It was especially different, new and exciting this year. I have been going since eighth grade, but what made it different was the piece that I got to do the solo,” Koh said. “That was a special experience because I don’t think CAIS has done solos in a long time, so it was nice to try something new.”