Each week, Marple Newtown Patch will seek suggestions from readers for individual kids, youth groups, teens, and even sports teams that wow us with their accomplishments. This week we highlight Amy Semes, a 16-year-old Broomall resident, who is already an accomplished violinist.
Patch Whiz Kid of the Week: Amy Semes
Whiz Kid's Age: 16
Whiz Kid's Hometown: Broomall
Whiz Kid's School: Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School
Whiz Kid's Accomplishment: Amy was selected by a panel of regional musicians and the Music Director in the 44th Annual Youth Concerto Competition.
Amy participates in Temple University Music Prep where she is a recipient of a Starling Violin Scholarship and Concertmaster of The Youth Chamber Orchestra. She is also Associate Concertmaster of The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. Amy is currently in The Snitzer Advanced Study Scholarship Quartet Settlement Music School.
In September 2009, Amy performed as a soloist with The Shanghai Philharmonic. Amy won the Bucks County Symphony Youth Competition and performed as soloist with them in their Pops Concert, along with Chris Brubeck and “Triple Play”. She has won the Ambler Symphony Menges Competition and performed with the Ambler Symphony.
Amy has also performed, with her three sisters, who also play the violin, with The Olney Symphony, The Ocean City Pops and The Macau Youth Orchestra in Macau, China. She has appeared on the radio on “Children’s Corner” in Hong Kong radio RTHK, on “The Weekly Radio Broadcast” in Shanghai, on “Creatively Speaking” and .
In 2011, Amy was heard on the popular NPR radio show, “From the Top," taped at The Ocean City Pier, performing as soloist with The Ocean City Pops Orchestra.
Whiz Kid's Key to Awesomeness: Amy started playing 12 years ago at the age of 4 after watching her two older sisters play.
"My two older sisters played the violin and I attended all their lesson with them," recalls Amy. "And I guess I was just really excited to watch them as well."
But perhaps playing music was naturally already developing in 4-year-old Amy. Her mother, who used to be a harpist, and her father, who used to be a bassist, has four girls who all play the violin.
"Pretty much...there's always somebody playing something in our house," says Amy. "Everybody in my family plays an instrument."
Amy has come a long way from those first lessons though. Now she practices two hours a day with one hour of private lessons every week. plays in approximately 7-8 concerts per year.
Though she's played in a fair share of concerts, one of Amy's most memorable concerts was when she played with the Shanghai Philharmonic at the Shanghai Concert Hall in China three years ago.
"That was a very great experience. It was very memorable," says Amy.
But one concert hall she still hopes to play in some day is at Carnegie Hall in New York City. "I've always dreamt of playing there."
Playing in front of hundreds and thousands is a lot to handle for anyone–let alone a 16-year-old. Amy admits she usually does get nervous before a concert but she tries to " relax as much as I can and just have fun."
One of her favorite violinists that she admires is Gil Shaham because "the way he interprets the music is really great and I really like his sound and his presence on stage." One of her all-time dreams is to play with him someday.
Though she hasn't quite decided what career to pursue in the future, Amy has thought about studying medicine and music in college. But regardless, violin will always be a part of Amy's life.
Editor's note: Know a great kid who made Eagle Scout or did your local soccer team take the championship? They may be our next Patch Whiz Kid honoree. We want to hear about these amazing children and teens and select one each week as the Patch Whiz Kid.