Congratulations to Will Addington, Amos Smithwick, Payton Daley, Nate Cole, Iren Hangen Vasquez, and Qiaochuhan Li for their acceptance into the 2021 Vermont All-State Music Festival. The annual festival offers high school musicians the opportunity to perform in a band, orchestra, chorus, or jazz ensemble under some of the nation's best conductors.
A special shoutout to Iren and Qiaochuhan for also receiving various scholarship awards. Iren won the scholarship in the Cello Performance category, while Qiaochuhan received the Composition Scholarship and the top prize in the Piano Scholarship Performance category.
The Scholarship Concert and Festival are scheduled for Saturday, May 15th.
We caught up with a few Burr and Burton honorees to learn more about music in their lives!
What role has music played in your life?
Qiaochuhan Li (Piano): I started playing the piano at the age of four. My parents often played classical music in the car; I really wanted to learn the piano. I was not a fan of practicing when I was a child. I dropped out of piano when I was in middle school for three years because I lost interest in it. I had a lot of schoolwork in China and I had no time for lessons. After I came to BBA, I picked up piano again, regained my interest in music, and eventually decided to go to school for music. I don’t regret my years of not practicing the piano because this experience makes me appreciate music so much more. Music for me is a way to let my stress go and fully express myself. I enjoy learning pieces and performing them on stage to share the music I love with people.
Will Addington (Bass Clarinet): Music has always been a part of my life. I enjoy playing it, listening to it, every aspect of it. I especially love the community of musicians.
Iren Hangen Vasquez (Cello): Music is a huge part of my life –– I've been playing the cello since I was 5 years old (I'm 16 now), and I'll be attending the Cleveland Institute of Music in the fall, where I'll be studying with Dr. Melissa Kraut. My parents are both musicians, and our house is always full of music! All of my closest friends are musicians as well.
How has music made an impact on you?
Li: Quoting something Neil told me once: studying music is like hopping on a train; the journey is long, and you are just one of the passengers. I enjoy exploring different composers from different periods and being able to "hop on" the musical train and travel back to those periods. I made a lot of friends through the music program at BBA. Also, the music program at BBA, especially Julie and Neil, inspired me to go to school for music in college. I lose track of time whenever I do musically related things, like composing, arranging, practicing the piano, even reading very dry music theory books.
Addington: It has taught me to work with others, communicate, and work consistently. It’s also been an opportunity for me to work through gigs.
Vasquez: Music has given me the means to express myself in an intimate and powerful way, and to share that with other people. I've really discovered my personal identity through my music, which has been a fantastic gift.
What song do you love to sing in the shower?
Li: I don't really sing in shower, but I sometimes hum the pieces that I'm learning at the time.
Addington: “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede
Vasquez: I don't actually sing in the shower much –– I might hum the concerto I'm working on, or maybe a Jacob Collier song.
What is your all time favorite band or musician?
Li: I really like concert violinist Hilary Hahn. I love her attitude to practicing and to music.
Addington: The Eagles
Vasquez: Too hard to pick! There's so many good options! Jacqueline du Pre is a really big inspiration to me, as well as Alicia Weilerstein.