NHS student to play violin in New York City

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

NATCHEZ — Azaiah Ambrose will know his hard work has paid off when he boards a plane this February to New York to play his violin in the revered Carnegie Hall.

Ambrose, a 10th grader at Natchez High School, has been playing the violin for three years

In early 2017 Ambrose said he nearly tripled his daily practice time and began focusing on complicated pieces of classical music.

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This work, he said, was in an effort to impress judges for the High School Honors Performance Series.

The High School Honors Performance Series selects students from an international pool to rehearse, tour and perform in New York City.

Ambrose began playing on a rented violin because his mother Kim Ambrose said he often picks up hobbies for a short time.

“We couldn’t buy a violin if he wasn’t going to stick with it,” she said. “But he has. He’s done so well.”

Kim Ambrose said her son’s passion for the instrument drives him to practice every day before bed, often for up to an hour.

“I can hear him all through the house,” she said, laughing. “Sometimes I would go to his room and ask, ‘Is it supposed to sound like that?’”

Kim Ambrose said she did not grow up playing the violin and she knows little about it, but as Azaiah learns, so does she.

Azaiah applied and was accepted into the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, which practices in Jackson each weekend.

This has led to many long days of driving back and forth to Jackson each weekend, but Kim Ambrose said the effort is worthwhile.

“He just recently had his winter concert, and it was so nice,” she said. “I think learning the violin has taught him discipline. He knows what he needs to do; I don’t have to tell him.”

Kim Ambrose said Azaiah was elated when he learned he had made it to Carnegie Hall on his first try.

“He looked at me and said, ‘Did I make it?’ like he couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Azaiah received his sheet music for the performance at the end of December, and Kim said he has been practicing incessantly ever since.

“I couldn’t tell you what the name is, I’m too excited,” she said. “I’m so happy I get to go with him. I wouldn’t want to miss that.”

The program cost covers many of the expenditures of the trip, but does not include airfare to and from New York.

Kim Ambrose said she and Azaiah’s father, Tommy Ambrose, are currently trying to save and fundraise for the trip to make sure their son gets to go.

“He’s just so excited,” she said. “I don’t want him to miss this. Right now, we are just figuring out a way to get there.”

This year for Christmas, Azaiah opened up a special gift: his very own violin.

“It’s brand new,” Kim Ambrose said. “It’s his.”