NOCCA Senior Selected by Elite Orchestra

Deep breathing and a prayer help young musician face crowds

By ANNETTE SISCO

Community editor

Photo provided by NOCCA -- Angelique Montes
Photo provided by NOCCA -- Angelique Montes

Cello player Angelique Montes, a senior at Benjamin Franklin High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, recently learned she is one of 120 American students chosen to the elite National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, a program of Carnegie Hall and its Weill Music Institute.

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE SELECTED TO THE NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA?

I got an email while I was in Houston, Texas, right before my audition at Rice University.

WHAT’S THE AUDITION PROCESS LIKE?

To be in NYO, I had to upload an audition video with orchestral excerpts, solo pieces and a spoken response to one of three questions they asked.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO ENJOY MOST ABOUT THIS PRESTIGIOUS, TRAVELING NATIONAL ORCHESTRA?

I think I’m probably going to enjoy meeting new people the most. That’s always my favorite part whenever I go to music camps.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING?

Outside of music, I like reading, cooking, and eating the most!

WHAT ABOUT YOUR FAMILY? HOW HAVE THEY INFLUENCED YOU?

My family is a very musical one, so without them, I’d probably never have gotten this far in music. My parents have always fully supported me in pursuing music and made many sacrifices doing so. They have also pushed me a lot. Without them constantly nagging me to practice when I was little, I probably would’ve never understood the importance of practicing to improve. So for that, I am very grateful.

HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND PLAYING YOUR INSTRUMENT?

I try to spend at least two hours a day on my cello.

DO YOU EVER GET STAGE FRIGHT?

Yes! All the time! To control it, I try to breathe more to relax my body, and stretching helps, too. Also, I always pray before (or while) I perform or audition, and that always helps.