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Colorado Springs high school musician racks up another achievement

January 5, 2016 Updated: January 5, 2016 at 8:30 am
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photo - Flutist Jessica Shand recently earned a spot in the Honor Orchestra of America. She's a junior at Discovery Canyon Campus. Courtesy.
Flutist Jessica Shand recently earned a spot in the Honor Orchestra of America. She's a junior at Discovery Canyon Campus. Courtesy. 

The city has a rising flute player in its midst.

Jessica Shand, a junior at Discovery Canyon Campus High School, was recently selected to participate in the Honor Orchestra of America. She'll travel to the four-day workshop and culminating performance in Indiana in March.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said Shand, 16. "To work with other kids who are as dedicated to their art is going to be really exciting."

To earn the coveted spot, she submitted two solo recordings and a biography.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment as there were only three seats available nationally," said Justin Carpenter, director of high school instrumental music at Discovery Canyon Campus. "She is also a stellar academic student, winning prizes in state science fair and taking college classes at night."

The musical achievement is just one of many for the high school student. In 2015 she competed against 27 other local student musicians to win the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony's Young Artist Solo Competition.

Shand was the principal flute/piccolo with the youth symphony, principal flute of the Colorado All State Orchestra Symphony 2015 and principal flute of the Colorado University High School Honor Band 2015. She also won a National Young Arts Foundation 2015 Merit Award in the music division.

Though it happened to be the flute she first picked up in the fourth grade, one gets the idea she would have gravitated toward a life of music no matter what instrument it was.

"Flute happens to be the specific voice I chose," she said. "The one nice thing about the flute is it has a soloistic character. It has a lot of character in an orchestra."

She gave up playing with the youth symphony to join the Denver Young Artists Orchestra in August, commuting once a week for practice. That's in addition to performing in the symphonic band at her high school.

"I thought it would be a good challenge to be in a new orchestra," she said, "because as a musician you have to be versatile and adapt to new people and places."

That skill will come in handy if she achieves her dream of performing with an orchestra in the next few decades, specifically the New York Philharmonic or the Berlin Philharmonic.

"If I can just play flute and earn money for it that would be a dream," she said.

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