Five Seniors Reflect on Their Orchestra Journey

Zara Paul

The Greenhill Orchestra program has five seniors in the string quart. This year, the seniors have been reflecting on their time spent working as a team. They have learned many valuable lessons from their time in the program and have shown various characteristics of leadership to younger players in the orchestra.

Vijay Agarwal, Jacob Liang and Charlotte Purcell are three of the five senior strings which play the violin. Aaron Johnson and Henderson Zhang, the other two seniors, play the cello. Johnson, Agarwal and Liang have been in the orchestra program at Greenhill since fifth grade. Henderson joined in seventh grade and Purcell in ninth grade.

The five have demonstrated immense leadership for younger members of the strings group. Upper School and Middle School Orchestra and String teacher Nick Paraskevas says he admires the senior’s impact on underclassmen in orchestra.

“They’ve been so active and generous with sharing their skills with the younger students,” Paraskevas said.

Last year, sophomore Varun Mukund made the Region 20 Orchestra, as well as the Texas Private Schools Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra with these upperclassmen.

“They serve as mentors to underclassmen. They are often asked to lead and demonstrate things,” Mukund said.

The seniors strongly value helping younger orchestra members. They think that having upperclassmen leaders is one of the most impactful things on underclassmen.

“’It’s very important having someone to look up to and set the precedent, that’s what we are trying to do for underclassmen,” Zhang said.

At Greenhill, the strings perform at Greenhill’s Founders’ Day Celebration, occasional upper school lunches and all the musicals hosted by Greenhill. The seniors specifically have a tradition of playing at their graduation and baccalaureate ceremonies.

“They have amazing work habits. They put in work in and out of the classroom to prepare for these,” Paraskevas said.

Last year, Johnson made the TPSMEA All-State Orchestra. Agarwal, Johnson, and Purcell made the Region 20 Orchestra last year as well. This year only Purcell participated, but she made the Region 20 Orchestra. Agarwal was also part of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra.

The group has kindled a tight bond with one another throughout all their years together. Often, the group does homework together and hangs out outside of school.

“The senior strings group is very tight-knit, just through all of us getting to know our instruments better,” Johnson said.

Throughout their time in the orchestra, the seniors have learned many valuable lessons. Many have learned useful time management skills and learned how to collaborate with others.

“Orchestra has taught me the importance of doing your part and the importance of working in a team,” Agarwal said.

Not only has it taught various seniors the importance of doing their part as a team, but it has also taught them how to practice healthy consistency.

“I have learned consistency is key. It’s hard to push yourself to practice every day, but if you put in the effort will see results.” Zhang said.