Superstar (Ellie’s Version)

Sophomore violinist earns concertmaster position in All-State Symphony

Sophomore+Ellie+Kennedy+plays+the+violin+solo+with+a+piano+accompaniment.

Karen Kennedy

Sophomore Ellie Kennedy plays the violin solo with a piano accompaniment.

Emma Siebold, Managing Editor

For Ellie Kennedy, playing solo is like being a fish in water. The notes she plays, the music she creates–it’s the oxygen she needs to breathe. 

Every year, 70,000 high school students across Texas audition for the Texas All-State orchestra. The rigorous process requires a regional audition, followed by an area audition that determines their state ranking by the Texas Music Educators Association. 

“I ranked 18th in the state, so I was able to earn my position in the Symphony orchestra, the highest level orchestra there is in TMEA,” Kennedy said. “Finally, there’s a second ranking process, otherwise known as seating auditions, which then tells you what chair you are in the orchestra.”

Kennedy earned the spot of first chair violinist and concertmaster of the Symphony orchestra, becoming the first Comal ISD student to ever lead the All-State Symphony. 

“I have been playing the violin for about 11 years,” Kennedy said. “The way I see music is definitely not just about playing the notes. Music is an essential aspect to universal understanding and happiness. The one thing special about playing an instrument is that you never stop learning, and you never stop having fun.”

Kennedy is currently first chair and concertmaster of the Smithson Valley Honor Orchestra.

“What Ellie does as concertmaster is provide good suggestions for musical phrases, asks meaningful questions about pieces we play and provides superior intonation and articulation,” sophomore cellist Sydney Rakowitz said. “I think she’s super confident as a violinist that she’s so good at handling big auditions such as All-State.”

For Kennedy, playing the violin is a way to channel the world around her and express her feelings. 

“Whenever I’m performing, I always make it a goal to not only leave an effect on the audience but to change the “color” of the room,” Kennedy said. “For me, this unique experience never fails to motivate me to continue with music.”

Raised by two violists, music has always been an integral part of Kennedy’s life.

Music is an essential aspect to universal understanding and happiness. The one thing special about playing an instrument is that you never stop learning, and you never stop having fun.”

— Ellie Kennedy

“We have certainly made a conscious effort throughout the years to be a positive force in her musical development,” said Ellie’s father, Joel Kennedy. “However, I think that most of our influence has been subconscious and this effect was born out from our own musical experiences and our own love of making music with other like-minded individuals.”

Kennedy’s love of playing the violin and performing motivates her to succeed in her musical endeavors.

“Ellie’s passion for music has grown as she has gotten older,” Joel Kennedy said.“With more experience, she has learned that she is not just a person who plays the violin, but rather, a ‘violinist.'”