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April MPAC Music Students of the Month


MORRIS COUNTY — Students from Mendham, Chatham, Madison, Morristown, and Parsippany schools were honored as Mayo Performing Arts Center’s April 2022 Music Students of the Month – Outstanding Violinists — prior to the Thursday, April 14 performance by Black Violin.

Students were nominated by their teachers and were chosen by the Theatre’s Education Department based on their commitment to and excellence in the performing arts. The Theatre will honor a group of students every month throughout the season and invites area teachers to nominate students for this honor.

The 2021-2022 Music Student of the Month program is supported by The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Foundation, Inc.

About the April Music Students of the Month (bio supplied by their instructors)

Indra Balakrishnan
Grade 8, Mountain View Middle School; Mendham; Nominated by Leigh Carpenter
Indra is one of, if not THE most accelerated string students our school has had in 20 years. Indra plays her instrument at a very high level, but what is even more impressive about Indra is that she is so very MUSICAL with her playing. There is so much emotion and passion that shines forth from her phrasing. She has a maturity way beyond her years, and when she plays, it touches your soul. Indra is a consummate scholar. She is self-motivated and takes ownership of all aspects of her learning. She is continually trying to better herself and even asks for the strongest criticism that I can give her. But being in an ensemble is about more than the individual. And here is where Indra stands out. Indra is always willing to share her expertise and passion for music with her classmates. She helps teach them accelerated techniques and shares with them her very advanced level of insight into critique and music theory. She does this in such a thoughtful and kind way, that it encourages her peers, lifting them up. I am so very fortunate to have Indra as a student. She inspires me and is a joy to teach. She is a young woman of character who is a huge asset to our music program and orchestra.

Isabel Chan
Grade 11, Chatham High School; Chatham; Nominated by Liam Keller
Isabel is a junior violinist who has been a part of the orchestra program in Chatham for her entire time in the district. I worked with Isabel for three years as the Director of Orchestras, Chamber Ensemble Advisor, Honors Music Advisor, and Music Theory teacher. Isabel is a highly organized and motivated musician, constantly striving to achieve her personal high standard for performance in everything she does. Isabel is a strong student leader and her peers and faculty respected her academic work and character. As a member of the orchestra program and chamber music ensemble, Isabel was confident
during rehearsals and consistently demonstrated excellence during many professional performances. Isabel has demonstrated leadership abilities time and time again being in charge of the 1st section her Sophomore year in Concert Orchestra and Concertmaster her Junior year. My assessment of Isabel is extremely positive. Isabel has been a constant positive force of energy motivating her peers to excellence. Always interested in the concerns of others, she was available to help students requesting assistance by becoming a tutor for her peers. Isabel is a team player and understands the process of moving from the model of good to great. Isabel is driven by a personal desire to improve her life so she can enrich the lives of others, shown in her free lessons that she teaches to fourth and fifth grade students. It is with great pleasure that I recommend Isabel be granted consideration for this award.

Cailyn Kouh
Grade 8, Madison Junior School; Madison; Nominated by Kathleen McCormick
Cailyn has earned multiple leadership roles in the orchestra including Concertmistress for this year’s Winter and Spring concerts and invitations to participate in Madison’s All-City Honors Orchestra. She is also a first violinist in our 8th-grade honors chamber ensemble, the “MJS 8th Notes”. Cailyn not only capably fulfills her performing responsibilities but she readily seeks out other musical opportunities. Last summer she participated in our summer arts program and not only signed up for orchestra as a violinist, but took bass and saxophone lessons. This school year, she voluntarily chose to take a Music Theory elective in addition to Orchestra. Cailyn is a valued member of the 8th-grade orchestra. She learns her music flawlessly and is respected by her peers. They often choose her as the section representative to complete the musical challenges given in class. She is responsible, conscientious, and modest about her talent, always willing to help her stand partner or a younger student without expectation of any recognition.

Saya Neff
Grade 8, Mountain View Middle School; Mendham; Nominated by Leigh Carpenter
Saya is spectacular in all aspects as a violinist. She is one of if not, THE most accelerated violinists our school has seen in 20 years. She dazzles with her technical expertise. She can play in many styles incorporating a multitude of different techniques on her instrument. She plays scales in multiple octaves over the full range of her instrument. She has amazing intonation and can often tune even without a reference pitch. Saya is very advanced not only technically but more importantly, MUSICALLY. Saya is also very creative in her musicality. She recently tried her hand at arranging a popular
song in duet form for herself and a fellow student. The harmonies were very beautiful and Saya
and her friend did a great job performing it. I am so very fortunate to have Saya as a student because she shares her expertise with her classmates and is a strong peer mentor. The other students look up to her and are inspired by her excellence. She is a model the students aspire to as they strive to match her pitch, form, and style. Saya is a wonderful young lady and an incredible musician.

Marbeth Torres
Grade 11, Morristown High School; Morristown; Nominated by Norma Davis
Marbeth Torres has been an outstanding violinist in the Morristown High School Orchestra for the past three years. She is a strong natural leader who always puts forth her best effort, striving to bring the notes on the page to life with emotion and style. Marbeth is also a violinist in the select Chamber Orchestra, Camerata ensemble, the Pit Orchestras for both the high school and middle school productions, and the Abbey Orchestra. She never shies away from a challenge, and works diligently to bring energy and personality from the music with every stroke of her bow. Marbeth is extremely dedicated and passionate about the violin and performs beautifully in every opportunity that arises. Marbeth is a role model for her peers in rehearsals, helping others learn their parts, practicing together to coordinate parts, leading sectionals, and working hard to make the orchestra great. Marbeth is a very talented and enthusiastic violinist – music will always have an important role in her life.

Eesha Vavilala & Medha Vavilala
Grade 7, Brooklawn Middle School; Parsippany; Nominated by Joseph Stella
Eesha & Medha are twin sisters who both play clarinet in the Brooklawn Middle School 7th grade band. Both were also selected by audition this year to the North Jersey School Music Association’s Intermediate Region Band. In addition to their commitment to playing clarinet in our school’s concert band and beyond, they are also both violinists. Eesha & Medha have successfully auditioned for our school’s pit orchestra for the musical “Annie.” With their versatile musical talent, willingness to put musical activities first, and ongoing polite and respectful demeanor, they are both qualified recipients of the Outstanding Violinist recognition.

Mayo Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich, and educate the region’s diverse population and enhance the economic vitality of Northern New Jersey. The 2021-2022 season is made possible, in part, by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support received from the F.M. Kirby Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. Mayo Performing Arts Center was named 2016 Outstanding Historic Theatre by the League of Historic American Theatres, and is ranked in the top 50 mid-sized performing arts centers by Pollstar Magazine.

Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, Lt. Governor of Division 9 Kiwanis Club of NJ, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.

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