Featured Musician: Violinist Rachel Thomas

Carolyn Kerecman

Bethany Starus

Rachel Thomas, a senior at Urbana, has been dedicating herself to music from a young age. She not only plays the violin for the UHS Orchestra, but she is also playing in the All County Orchestra and has been involved in a number a musical groups outside of school.

Hawkeye Reporter: So, how long have you been playing music?

Rachel Thomas: Well, I’ve been in Orchestra since I was in fourth grade, so about 8 years.

HR: What instrument do you play in the Orchestra? Or do you play more than one instrument?

RT: I play the violin for Orchestra, but I’ve done singing things for Orchestra before too. When I was in 8th grade, I sang a solo in Italian and an Irish song called “Danny Boy”. I’ve been in choirs before, too, but I mostly play the violin.

HR: Do you have a particular genre of music that you usually like to play?

RT: I wouldn’t say I have a favorite genre to play. Mrs. Buxbaum likes to switch it up, so we work with a lot of different genres. Last year, we played “All My Love”, by Led Zeppelin, and I also did a solo a couple years ago for a song from “The Hobbit”. It was really cool. Modern songs are usually really fun to play, but I like to play classical songs too.

HR: How long have you been taking music classes at Urbana?

RT: This would be my 6th term in Orchestra.

HR: What made you want to take music classes, or learn to play music?

RT: I always admired musicians, and saw an importance in music education. When I was a kid I wanted to be a music teacher. I think music is something that I have always been able to get in to and challenge myself with, so I enjoy it.

HR: Do you have any music-related extra-curriculars?

RT: Well, I’m going to be in All County Orchestra for the second time this year, and a couple years ago, I sang with the Frederick Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra at school also goes to a lot of different places to perform, like we went to Disney World when I was a freshman, and we have also performed in places like New York. I’m in the Music Honor Society too.

HR: Do you plan to pursue music after high school?

RT: I do not think I would pursue a career in music, but I do want to continue to study it. I think when I am in college I would like to join a club or something, or even join a community orchestra.

HR: Do you have a favorite musician, or musical group?

RT: My favorite violinist is Jenny Oaks Baker, she received a Grammy, and I got to meet her once. She’s very talented. I like Lindsey Stirling too.

HR: Do you have any advice for students who would like to join the orchestra at Urbana?

RT: I would say just go for it, it does not matter what level you are at, because people will work with you and help you. Everyone is really nice, and we get to go on a lot of really cool trips. It is really fun.