Scholastic Arts Spotlight: Melanie Mashner

On the eve before their May 5th concert, the Penfield Symphony Orchestra practiced for a final time. They had a special guest. Harpist Melanie Mashner won the orchestra's annual Young Artist Competition. "Playing in an orchestra has been really valuable to me," says Melanie. "You're overwhelmed by the power of these musicians, and this time as a soloist I have this power behind me and supporting me. It's a really neat experience."

Melanie is a senior at Brighton High School. She's been playing the harp for 9 years under the guidance of the RPO'S principal harpist, Grace Wong. "I think she'd be a wonderful orchestral harpist," says Wong. "She's very solid and she's musical."

Melanie has loved the harp ever since she first heard it being played when she was 9 years old. This 90 pound instrument is a true part of who she is. "When I start playing the nerves go away now, and you just get in the zone and you feel it," she says.

Melanie was one of just ten students worldwide, to be awarded a prestigious,
four-year, full scholarship to Indiana University's Jacob School of Music. Over the coming years, the rest of the world will find out what Rochester audiences already know: Melanie Mashner is exceptional.

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