Student Spotlight: Rebecca Su


Rebecca Su

Junior Rebecca Su sits with the All-State Orchestra ensemble prior to their performance at the Missouri Music Educator’s Association Conference.

From one State Golf Championship to Orchestra State Performance went junior Rebecca Su, who participated in an audition the first weekend of December. This audition granted her access to the orchestra that would meet to learn songs to play for the Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA) Conference, which began on Jan 28.

“I began working on excerpts from The Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and the opening measures of Fingal’s Cave. I worked a lot with my private teacher on improving my tone quality this year,” Su said.

After making it into the orchestra, the string players had a blind audition the first day of the conference, for seating. Each chair number was equivalent to that performers rank on their instrument.

“Our excerpts this time were chosen from the music that we were to perform with the full orchestra. I have to admit I had some help from my older brother when practicing for these auditions, but once again I owe a lot to my teacher for painstakingly teaching me every difficult passage,” Su said.

The first audition was followed by the top four cellists being called back for a final audition in which the rankings of the top four were determined. Amongst these was Su, who ended up being fourth chair for the performance.

“At first I thought it was a mistake,” Su said. “The lady had to reread the callback numbers because I didn’t believe I heard her correctly. After about 10 minutes of shock, I got nervous knowing that I would need to play for the panel of judges again.  I don’t really remember much feelings after the nervousness.  I think my mind went numb when I was doing the second audition.”

For the rest of the week consisted of rehearsals with each section of instruments from 7:30-8:30 a.m., followed by three different full orchestra rehearsals throughout the day, each one lasting two hours.

“Our schedule was crazy. The latest rehearsal we had was at 10:30 p.m. and it didn’t finish until midnight,” Su said. “Originally, I had aimed to just attend and enjoy the conference, but I ended up learning many new technical aspects and parts of being a cello player.”

Though Su has been to All-State in both her freshman and sophomore years, this year marks the first time she went without her older brother, alumnus Anthony Su, making the experience, in her opinion, more memorable.

“I really bonded with my roommates Amanda Cao, Michelle Tang and Cherry Tomatsu. There were times in between rehearsals where we would hang out together in our room doing homework or just talking with each other,” Su said. “I felt really blessed to have been able work with our conductor Ryan McAdams who was always very encouraging to us and respected us as if we were professionals instead of just high school students.”

Practicing all week culminated in the performance of Ravel’s Symphonie Espagnole and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture.

“The music certainly did live up to the expectation of performing it because many times these songs are so powerful just even to listen to, but not only getting to hear the music, but to be part of the music is something truly special,” Su said. “The final concert was my favorite memory; we were all dressed up in our black concert attire, and we reached this one famous melody in the Tchaikovsky and everyone was moving and playing in unison.”