Jason Shafer excels at clarinet

Student achiever

April 16, 2003

The student: Jason Shafer, 15

School: Atholton High

Special achievement: Winner of the Columbia Orchestra Young Artist Competition. He and another winner appeared as soloists with the Columbia Orchestra at a December concert. "I was very surprised and I was very happy. It was a great pleasure," he said.

What was it like performing with an orchestra? "I thought I was going to be really nervous, but once I got up on stage it was really a lot of fun. The orchestra was a real pleasure to work with. They're all excellent musicians and really nice people."

What he learned from the experience: "How to play as a soloist and how to play with an orchestra." In the past, he had played only as part of an ensemble. "It's very different when you're playing a piece that's specifically written for a solo instrument with an orchestra accompaniment. I learned how to balance with an orchestra."

What does he like about the clarinet? He has played the instrument for six years and has been studying with a private teacher for two years. "I love how the clarinet has a very big range and you can play all sorts of things, from jazz to classical, and it's very expressive and it blends well with other instruments."

Other accomplishments: He is an honor student. Last month, he performed as a member of the 2003 Maryland All-state Senior Concert Band. He participates in his school's highly rated marching band. "That's a very big thing at Atholton. We go to all the competitions."

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