Sophomore awarded $10,000 for orchestra


Danielle Yoon plays the cello at the Christ Methodist Church on January 8th, 2022.

Riya Vatti

For many people, winning a $10,000 orchestra grant is an impossible feat.

However, IHS sophomore, Danielle Yoon, was able to exceed her own expectations. Yoon was awarded $10,000 by the Texas Cultural Trust and the Texas Commission on the Arts for her cello playing abilities.

The Texas Cultural Trust is an organization that supports and increases awareness for liberal arts within Texas. The Texas Commission on the Arts is a program that awards people money for their musical and artistic abilities. 

“This award means a lot to me because it recognizes all the effort and hard work that I have put in for the cello,” said Yoon. “I was also recognized by these organizations for my academic abilities and my teacher’s viewpoints on me, therefore the reward is also a representation of my achievements.”  

Yoon will use the money she earned to participate in an orchestra related summer festival. 

“With the $10,000 grant, I will be attending a summer festival called Encore Chamber Music Festival,” said Yoon. “It is a 3-week intensive program where I will be surrounded by incredible mentors, peers, and music.”

Yoon credits her mother and sister for helping her get involved with playing the cello. 

“My older sister played the violin and piano, so I naturally was surrounded by music from a very young age. My mom suggested that I play the piano and cello, and that’s how I started,” she said.

Yoon feels that playing the cello allows her to express emotions and communicate.  

“Music is often titled as a universal language, and rightfully so,” said Yoon. “I believe that playing the cello is an expressive art form because I can use it to communicate stories and emotions without words. I am able to transcend any boundaries, whether they be cultural, linguistic, or geographical.”

Yoon notes the most difficult part of playing an instrument is having perseverance. 

“I really had to be patient with myself, even when things weren’t going well,” she said.  “I was able to learn that music is a lifelong journey, and despite the bad days it is important to just stick with it. 

Yoon’s favorite part of playing the cello is the memories she is able to make with people. 

“I love meeting other musicians and playing with them because some of the most special moments are when people collectively come together to make music,” said Yoon. “I have met so many amazing people in the music community, and developed many core memories.”

Nidhi Kayshap, a friend of Yoon and an IHS orchestra student, admires Yoon’s positive attitude. 

“Danielle’s attitude within orchestra is always uplifting, and inspiring,” said Kayshap. “She always has a smile on her face and is willing to learn. I think this aids her orchestra abilities by allowing her to have a growth mindset and learn from her mistakes rather than stay stuck and unwilling to evolve.”’

Kayshap thinks that Yoon is a talented orchestra player and has a lot of work ethic. 

“Danielle has the ability to pick any piece of music up and deliver it masterfully,” said Kayshap. “Her music truly moves me to tears, and her work ethic in orchestra motivates all of the people around her.”

Being recognized by the Texas Cultural Trust and the Texas Commission on the Arts has helped Yoon learn the importance of practicing. 

“I would tell myself and other people to keep working hard and continue on even when things get hard, because all of your efforts pay off in the long run,” said Yoon.