Going for Baroque helps teen musician earn rare orchestra honor

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A select few of Kansas City's very fine teenage musicians will be in Nashville, Tenn. in October to perform with All National Honors bands and orchestras and choirs. Those groups are put together by the National Association for Music Education, and getting on one is a rare honor for a high school student.

Fox 4 Young Achiever of the Week Annie Sinsel has been chosen to play in the symphony orchestra, the first student from Shawnee Mission North High School ever selected for that.

This is how it starts out for Annie Sinsel every time she puts a bow to her violin on a demanding composition like Bruch's violin concerto.

"First I think, 'OK, you can do this, you can totally do this, you're not going to mess up at all, you got this,'" said Annie with a big smile.

Then the initial jitters vanish as this young musical marvel concentrates on getting the difficult notes right.

"And then once I feel comfortable, I'm like, 'We're on a role!'" said Annie.

And Annie soars, as her inexplicable inner gift of getting to the heart of the music takes over.

"I am one of the emotional players who is able to interpret the feelings that the composer put into their music," said Annie.

Whether it's as a superb soloist or as a member of an orchestra or ensemble like the Shawnee Mission North High School Strolling Strings, Annie is known for both her technical precision and her musical insight.

"She is just an extraordinarily talented and gifted young woman," said Karen McGhee Hensel, North High orchestra director.

McGhee Hensel has watched and listened to a lot of fine teen violinists in the metro during her many years at North. Annie, she says, has something extra special.

"All great musicians can play the notes," said McGhee Hensel. "It's not about the black and white on the paper. Annie has something in her ability that she has a maturity that is beyond her years. She plays like an adult would play, an adult who's had life experiences that Annie has not had yet because she is just a young woman. But she doesn't play like a young woman. She plays like a mature adult and that's what sets her apart from everyone else."

Soon Annie will take her terrific talents and maturity to a high-profile venue. Through a rigorous audition process, she's been selected to the All National Honors Symphony Orchestra made up of some of the nation's premiere high school musicians.

"I'm really excited," said Annie. "I'm honored beyond belief. It shows through work and perseverance that I can do something amazing."

It really should come as no surprise to anyone that Annie earned her way onto this elite national honors symphony orchestra. She is a huge success in her music and it certainly didn't happen overnight. A senior at North, Annie's been playing violin for nearly 14 years. With practice, practice, practice, she's won top high school district and state honors multiple times over. Annie's also in her third year with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, the youngest member of that acclaimed group of both professional and amateur musicians.

"It's really, really fun," said Annie of playing with the KCCO. "With an accomplished, well-put-together orchestra, you can play so many different types of genres of music."

Always eager to challenge herself and get new musical experiences, now Annie heads to her biggest and best yet, on her way to what she hopes will be a career as a performer.

"I have spent so much time with it, might as well stick around," said Annie.

Just before Annie goes to Nashville to play with the All National Honors Symphony Orchestra, she has a performance with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. That's Saturday evening, October 11th at Atonement Lutheran Church at 99th and Metcalf in Overland Park. The performance is free of charge, as are all of the KCCO's performances. It's the first performance of the orchestra's new season. For information and a performance schedule go to http://kccivic.org/