Lee's Summit, Mo. -- In a week and a half, a few dozen extraordinary young musicians will gather together to perform on the stage of one of America's most storied concert venues. It's a dream of serious, talented young music students everywhere to play Carnegie Hall.
And Elizabeth Brock, this week's Reaching 4 Excellence Young Achiever, gets to live that dream. For a first-rate group of young musicians like the Lee's Summit North High School Symphony Strings, there's really never a slack time.
They are just coming off a major performance at the Missouri Music Educators Association conference last month that put outstanding players like violinist Elizabeth Brock in the spotlight.
"She's just a very strong player," says Joseph Kenney, Director of Orchestras at Lee's Summit North. "Her ability to play without a hint of arrogance. She plays music for the sheer love of music. Not because, 'I'm good at it and I want to show off how good I am.' She does it because of the pure joy of playing."
The violin is the musical instrument that most closely mimics the human voice and Elizabeth really makes it sing on some of the most challenging classical works.
"I try to think about how the composer wanted it to sound and just try to make that happen and bring out the musicality in it," says Elizabeth. "I think she is a very passionate player, she really feels the music," says Doctor of Music Arts Heidi Bergman, Elizabeth's private teacher.
Elizabeth's gotten to a very high level studying since she was a freshman with Bergman.
"She has a very beautiful sound and a very lyrical sound," says Bergman. "She works very, very hard. She knows that talent alone isn't enough." Elizabeth also has developed a strong commitment to the future of great classical music. She goes regularly to Underwood Elementary School as a volunteer tutor helping the young violinists there build their skills.
"I think it's good to teach younger children music," says Elizabeth. "And if they like it or not, it changes them. They have a better understanding of the world."
Just a junior, Elizabeth already has earned just about every top award a high school musician can win. Superior ratings at festivals and contests at all levels. All-State Orchestra selection. And now comes the biggest one yet.
"I can't even believe it," gushes Elizabeth. "There's just so many people who have stepped on that stage. It's just -- Wow!"
That stage is Carnegie Hall, the famed concert venue in New York City. And Elizabeth will play there this month as a member of the 2012 American High School Honors Performance Orchestra. It's a highly-competitive, audition-only group made up of many of the finest teenage symphony musicians in the United States and Canada.
"It means the world to me," says Elizabeth.
And it means a big boost in her goals to become a professional symphony performer and music teacher.
"I've just tried hard and just kept going," says Elizabeth. "And how you get to Carnegie Hall is you practice, practice practice. And I just love it. And I can't imagine doing anything else."
There is at least one other metro area student heading to New York City as a part of the 2012 American High School Honors Performance Series. Junior Johnny Rotolo of Blue Springs South High School will be in Carnegie Hall, too, playing his trumpet.
FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism.
Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on Fox 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 5 p.m.