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The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

Violin Natural

Senior Nadia Hoang plays violin in the El Camino College Orchestra.
Nadia Hoang holds her violin at a performance. PHOTO COURTESY OF NADIA HOANG

Though playing an instrument can be a long difficult journey, senior Nadia Hoang has kept her connection with the violin.

Hoang started her orchestra journey in fifth grade when she had to choose a band or orchestra instrument to play. She chose an orchestra instrument, the violin, and ended up falling in love with playing it.

“I had always wanted to play an instrument, but when we got to choose in fifth grade I was stuck between the violin and the viola. I ended up choosing the violin because there was a really high-pitched note I could play to annoy people, and my dad said he always wanted a daughter who could play the violin,” Hoang said.

Hoang loved playing in the orchestra in middle school but, in her freshman year, Hoang moved from her hometown to Redondo Beach, where she joined the marching band because of the absence of a school orchestra.

“There wasn’t the same connection [with band] that I felt in the orchestra. There was no one that could understand my pain and suffering. It was not my cup of tea, the notes the flutes played were a little too high for me and I just wasn’t ready for it at the time. The skill level and the people made me not want to do it anymore,” Hoang said.

Once Hoang realized how much she missed orchestra, she decided to leave the band and look into auditioning for the El Camino College Symphony Orchestra.

“I prepared for the audition process for almost two months. I was stressed because I hadn’t played violin for a year so I got lessons to improve before I did the audition. I thought that I failed because I bombed it really badly, but [the conductor] still accepted me so I was excited that I got in,” Hoang said. “I got to choose between violin one and violin two, I chose violin two because I didn’t feel ready enough for violin one.” 

To maintain her skills and in an effort to continue her improvement, Hoang practices at least six hours a week. She has a four-hour rehearsal every week and tries to practice by herself every day. According to Hoang, these practices can be intensive and frustrating, but she has methods to deal with it.

“I get bored practicing because I have to repeat the same things over and over again. I also get frustrated repeating the same things if I’m not [understanding] something, or when I rehearse with everyone and I can’t keep up. But I tell myself to practice more and I try to read the music over and over again until I get it, ” Hoang said.

This consistent practice allows Hoang to perform to the best of her ability even if she gets “a little stressed” sometimes.

“It’s not as stressful [onstage] because the lights are on you, so you can’t really see out into the audience. I do get a little stressed out because I’m scared I’m going to mess up, but I think [that’s] normal. At my most recent concert, I was too much in my own head so I kept messing up, and I think that shows a lot about how stress affects you,” Hoang said.

According to Hoang, though performing can be stressful at times, she has the orchestra community to help her through it. Hoang has always liked the people she’s met in orchestra, but finds the family at El Camino especially endearing.

“It’s not very competitive. It’s really just a big community,” Hoang said. “I love playing with them and being able to connect with others. I found it a really good way to make friends and connect with adults who have experience in the workforce and can help me when I’m looking into jobs.” 

The orchestra has helped Hoang make many friends such as Alfina Eull, a freshman at El Camino and Hoang’s section leader.

“[The community] is pretty nice and welcoming. A big portion of that comes from the conductor [Dr. Joanna Medawar Nachef] who makes sure everybody is on good terms and encourages that people within the sections get to know each other, which is why I know Nadia and am friends with her,” Eull said.

Hoang and Eull have grown even closer through their long wait times during shows and listening to each other play.

“I’m the section leader and Nadia sits in the row behind me, so I don’t really see her while I’m playing, but I can definitely hear her and I think it’s great that she’s part of our section, making beautiful sounds and playing in the orchestra,” Eull said.

Dr. Nacheff has not only helped keep the tight-knit community in the orchestra, but has also given the members opportunities to expand their musical careers, such as giving them an opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall.

“My conductor has a lot of connections and has conducted at Carnegie Hall before. The Directors at Carnegie Hall invited her and her choir to go, but she asked if she could take the orchestra as well to accompany the choir so she didn’t have to teach a whole new group entirely different songs,” Hoang said.

Performing at Carnegie has become so important to Hoang that it is one of her biggest motivations to keep on playing along with other things.

“Now [my biggest motivation] is Carnegie hall, but what motivates me the most is making connections with other people and having people around who also enjoy the same things as me,” Hoang said.

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About the Contributor
Jayla Dorbor
Jayla Dorbor, Staff Writer
My name is Jayla. This is my first year on staff. I play tennis and like to go to costco for free samples.

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