Ashley Jepson, 12, and Xandra Carter, 13, said they’ve each been practicing in music programs for a few years, and have knowledge of a few key instruments in classical form. The girls said they are great friends, and enjoy one another’s company.
Eighth-grade student Xandra, daughter of Rathana and Darin Carter, said she first began practicing the violin in the fifth-grade before switching to the double bass in sixth-grade.
“I thought the instrument was fake at first,” said Xandra, about her first encounter with the double bass. But she grew to love the instrument. “I love how it’s the background music for everything. It’s like the heartbeat,” she said. “It helps everyone else know where we are in the song. It helps everyone.”
Seventh-grader Ashley, daughter of Mary and Stephen Jepson, said she began playing the piano in third-grade before adding the violin to her repertoire a year later. She is excited to play more instruments in the future, and expresses interest in playing the cello, and even the ukulele.
“I’ve done sports, gymnastics and I loved dancing to the music. But, I’ve always wanted to create the music,” said Ashley. “Music completes me. It’s like a puzzle piece.
Both girls added that their family line had a keen interest in music, noting that each girl’s grandmothers were quite musically enhanced themselves. Xandra and Ashley are now carrying on their elders’ legacy, and are continuing to do so once they’ve received interested emails from the Modesto symphony orchestrator, who were looking for talented young pupils who played string instruments. Both girls auditioned earlier this year in August, and were chosen to participate in MSYO’s 37th season opening.
Their music instructor, Susan Ingram of Creekside Middle School, helped secure their seats, and continues to prep them in their orchestra class. Both commended Ingram, as well as their families for their work ethic, funding, weekly car-rides to Modesto, and their success. Ashley also thanked her private teacher, Whitney Byrd, while Xandra thanked her siblings for putting up with her demanding schedule.
The girls said they enjoyed playing at the lavished venue and are prepared for the role, despite a few preshow jitters for Saturday’s performance.
“There is always something to improve on, but you have to be very confident to go on,” said Xandra.
“Otherwise, your bow shakes. We’re ready for this,” added Ashley.
The MSYO Season Opening Concert begins at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Gallo Center for the Arts, 100 I St., Modesto. Tickets are $5 for children, $10 for adults.
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.