UAHS cello player Lucy Cheng discusses her successful journey throughout her orchestral career.
BY CARLY WITT, ’23
One of the most important aspects of UAHS is its music programs, such as choir, band and orchestra. The orchestra department is a large contributor to our school’s community, and within that program is senior Lucy Cheng, a member of the Chamber and Symphony orchestras at UAHS, and a member of the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra. On Oct. 11, she was chosen to represent Ohio and Upper Arlington in the Ohio Music Education Association’s South-Central All-Region Orchestra.
Lucy began her cello career back in fourth grade at Wickliffe Elementary School, her favorite memories being learning all the basics.
“I remember learning the little songs they taught us in orchestra. So with our bow holds about these llamas… And then up ‘bow down, bow orchestra rocks’ just kind of stuck with me,” she said.
Cheng also said she didn’t immediately fall in love with playing, it was a growth.
“I didn’t want to practice at first, my parents made me for sure. And then probably around eighth grade, I started to want to practice for myself. And especially over the pandemic, and quarantine, you know, not having really a lot of other things to do. I spent a lot more time on the cello,” Cheng explained.
There are various differences among the four committed orchestras of which Cheng is a part.
“School orchestras, obviously, are just Upper Arlington,” Cheng said. “Then with Youth Orchestra, there’s a couple of schools feeding into that, and it’s audition-based. So sometimes the repertoire will be a little more challenging. Also, it’s a full symphony orchestra. So you’re playing with woodwinds and brass and percussion, or a school is definitely more learning focused.”
Having started cello from such a young age, Cheng has gained many skills that have helped in life outside of music.
“[I’ve learned] how to communicate with others and take cues from other people, especially staying together and staying in time,” Cheng said.
Because of the many years of experience, Cheng also has many favorite memories and stories surrounding her orchestra career.
“With chamber music connection, which I’ve been in for a couple of years, they’ll have senior solos. So when I was younger, getting to see the seniors, and they get all dressed up to play their song, I was like, ‘wow, they were so amazing.’ It was really cool to watch. And then the past couple years, being able to play alongside them and accompanying them was a really fun experience.”
Looking to the future, Cheng said she wishes to continue cello after high school.
“I’m currently working on getting ready for auditions, so it may not be in the cards. But I definitely would love to.”
Cheng is optimistic, and believes that everyone has the ability to start playing.
“It’s never too late to start. And if you want to join an ensemble outside of school, there’s definitely so many opportunities for that, of varying commitments. So there’s a place for everybody. And yeah, I think there’s no harm in giving it a try,” Cheng said.