Freshman violinist commands spotlight

From the second she steps foot on stage, until the moment that steps off, Rachel Ho feels right at home.

She has invested 11 years of her life into playing and practicing instruments, primarily the violin and viola. Her biggest accomplishment was winning a Brevard concerto competition on violin when she was 14.

“The competition was open to all Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra members,” the freshman said. “Fifteen of the top players auditioned for a top six spot, and then in the next round, to have a top third spot.”

“It was nerve-wracking,” she said. “I saw my friends go play in front of the audience. When it was my turn, I swear I could have been hyperventilating. But, when I got on stage, I was told that everyone just stared in awe of me.”

Rachel’s mom seemed to agree.

“The very first note grasped the audience’s attention,” Huey Ho said. “She’s a natural.”

As the winner of the competition, Rachel gets to play her concerto with the Youth Orchestra as a featured soloist April 1.

Her enthusiasm for music has landed her the label “best violist of the county and state” for her age level.

“I put in a ton of my time into music,” Rachel said. “I practice a cumulative six hours a week including orchestra rehearsal and my lesson. I should be practicing 3 hours a day, but school and dance tend to get in the way, so whenever I’m not busy with something else, I’m practicing.”

One of her most memorable experiences was playing in the symphonic Florida State University concert where she sat second chair viola in the orchestra and played an array of challenging pieces including a Vaughn Williams piece, a Saint Seam’s piece and Overture of Nabucco.

“The concert was literally perfect,” she said. “To me, it sounded like a professional orchestra. Emotion was spewing from everyone giving it such a dramatic effect. Excitement, sadness, wonder, complexity. It was everything.”

Rachel says she loves the rush of adrenaline when she steps on stage and is passionate about performing in general, whether it be playing music or dancing, another one of her hidden talents.

“I dance six hours a week at Turning Pointe of Melbourne,” Rachel said. “I do pointe, ballet, jazz, lyrical, and tap. I used to do baton twirling when I was younger, but my teacher went off to college.”

Rachel sees a future in music and looks to acquire a minor in music performance in college, while pursuing a major in the medical field.

“Music will be in my future forever,” Rachel said. “It requires a lot of work, but it has always been well worth the dedication.”

By Abby Kawa