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Emily McAlister finds the right note for success
Emily McAlister
Emily McAlister - photo by Photo Contributed

When Emily McAlister began private music lessons as a child she hated practicing, but little did she know that those lessons would serve as a foundation for her success as an award winning violinist at just 17 years old.

For the past 13 years McAlister, a senior at Pitman High School, has honed her craft by participating in a variety of orchestras including the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra of which she was recently selected to receive a $2,500 scholarship.  After competing in their concerto competition this year, McAlister earned a solo performance at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto last month at the youth symphony’s concert. McAlister has gained attention at the regional and state level as a member of the California Orchestra Directors Association her sophomore year of high school and All State Orchestra her junior year of high school, a testament not only to McAlister’s ability but her commitment.

“I was ecstatic that my hard work was rewarded,” said McAlister of her acceptance into the All State Orchestra. “It was crazy to be able to play with all of the great people from around the state. It was inspiring and intimidating.”

McAlister not only shares her gift of music with others through performance, but she also has several regular students whom she teaches.

“I really like how you can teach others music; it is fun how they get excited about it. When I was younger I hated to practice, but now I see the benefits of it,” said McAlister.

This fall McAlister will take her love of music to Brigham Young University where she will major in nursing and minor in music. Just like the thousands of students leaving the nest for their first experience away from home, McAlister is, “kind of nervous but ready for the change.”