The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

Take a bow

Guest composer visits orchestra for a day of learning and concerts
Soon+Hee+Newbold+working+with+orchestra+class+during+rehearsals.++
Photo by Courtesy Photo
Soon Hee Newbold working with orchestra class during rehearsals.

Guest composer Soon Hee Newbold came to ELPS to work with the orchestra students. On Oct 25, there was an orchestra concert that consisted of only Newbold’s compositions, along with her conducting a few of the pieces.

Newbold has been composing her entire life and has been published since 2002. She has traveled the world being a guest composer and her work has been played at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Lincoln Center for Various Arts.

Newbold got into music from a young age. She has been playing the piano since she was 5 years old and the violin since she was 7.

“I was inspired by other composers like Mozart who composed when they were a young child,” Newbold said. “My parents got me started in piano and violin when I was very young, I had an aptitude for it and enjoyed it.”

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Orchestra class practicing for their concert. (Courtesy photo)

For six years, Dana Hardy (12) has been playing the violin. Hardy played at the concert and thought it went well.

“It’s really fun whenever we have like these guest artists come in and be able to work with these people,” Hardy said. “Especially since this time it was a composer so we were able to get the perspective of the person who wrote the pieces that we’re playing.”

Along with composing, Newbold is an actress, film producer and director.  She also is in martial arts and is a former police officer. Despite all of these impressive accomplishments, she finds her main line of work in composing.

“She does so many different things,” Hardy said. “And so I think that’s inspiring and was cool also to get the perspective of someone successful on something like composing, which is hard to get your name out there.”

The concert consisted of the middle school and high school orchestras, with them performing differing levels of Newbold’s music.  For the last piece, everyone came on stage and performed ‘battle’ for the finale.

“There was this expectation that we needed to make sure the quality was really good because we’re going to be having the actual composer be listening to her pieces,” Hardy said.

Orchestra class practicing for their concert. (Courtesy Photo)

Along with being in orchestra, Hardy is the co-president of the ELHS Composition Society. After school on Wednesday, Newbold came to their club to have a Q and A.

“We could ask her some questions about composing specifically and she has a unique perspective that I thought was cool to bring into the club,” Hardy said.

During the concert, Rosin and Newbold both spoke highly of the orchestra students.

“I can’t tell you what an honor and a privilege it’s been to be here in East Lansing,” Newbold said during the concert. “You are amazing and you have been excellent hosts and your generous spirit and hard work pays off.”

For anyone considering pursuing a music career, Newbold believes that anyone can learn from her story and that there are many directions they can go.

“There are many things in music you can do as a career so if you want to pursue it, go for it,” Newbold said.

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About the Contributor
Ella Moore, Website Editor
Ella Moore is in the class of 2024 and is the Website Editor for Portrait.  This is her second year on staff as a senior.  Ella's favorite thing about journalism is being kept informed about her community and differing communities.  When she's not in the newsroom, Ella enjoys listening to Taylor Swift and going on hikes with her dog.

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