Violinist Natasha Ding performs in all-state orchestra


Natasha Ding

Natasha Ding was one of very few sophomores to make the PMEA All-State Orchestra.

Since picking up the violin in kindergarten, sophomore Natasha Ding has spent countless hours practicing over the years. Recently, Ding made her debut in the 2023 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) All-State Orchestra festival that began on April 19th. 

The festival is a three-day event, with rehearsals held at Pocono Mountain West High School. The event culminated in a concert on April 22 at 3:30 pm at the Kalahari Convention Center. 

“I am very excited for All-State,” Ding said prior to the event. “I’m going to try to do my best when playing the pieces.”

Making All-State Orchestra is no small feat, and making the orchestra as a sophomore is even more rare. Students start practicing music in the summer to prepare for the district orchestra audition in December. After making the district orchestra, students must re-audition for the regional orchestra. At regionals, they must audition yet again for All-State Orchestra. 

The process isn’t over yet, though. Ding will audition one more time for a reseating placement within the violin section of the All-State Orchestra. Ding is one of 52 violin students to make All-State Orchestra, and one of 26 players on the Violin I part. The first violin part is one of two parts within the violin section and is typically given to the most proficient violinists. Ding’s placement is a clear testament to her skill as a musician. 

“I enjoy working on phrasing, tone, and dynamics,” Ding said. “I think that really helps you express the meaning of the piece to the audience.”

Since starting in kindergarten, Ding has developed an extremely vast repertoire, rehearsing music for the school orchestra, PMEA, and her own personal development. With all of this practice, Ding has found a practice routine that allows her to succeed. 

“I make sure to practice many different musical exercises. I usually start with scales and arpeggios for warm-up and then move onto my repertoire,” Ding said. “I take my music to my teacher and we go through the harder parts.”

Serving only to add to her achievement is Ding’s rigorous course schedule. As a sophomore, she is currently enrolled in many challenging classes, including AP Biology and AP Calculus AB. On top of her coursework, Ding’s ability to find the time to skillfully play such challenging music is a testament to her dedication. 

“How much I practice depends on how much time I have and what schoolwork I have,” Ding said. “Sometimes it’s more difficult to practice for longer periods with schoolwork.”

Through years of dedication and passion, Natasha Ding has become one of the top musicians at Southern Lehigh. With such achievement and hard work, it is exciting to think of what Ding will accomplish in the future.