Three HBA students performed with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra at the Hawaii Youth Symphony’s Side by Side concert at the Blaisdell Concert Hall on Thursday, October 26.

Sitting among musicians from Hawaii’s premier professional symphony, Natalie Narito (‘20), Vincent Ogasawara (‘20), and Aaron Omon (‘22), members of the Hawaii Youth Symphony I (HYSI), performed four pieces, including Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Bernstein’s “Candide Overture.”

Freshman Aaron Omon, HYS clarinetist, enjoyed the privilege of playing with a professional orchestra. “The mentor musicians for the clarinet section were all kind. And I was overwhelmed by the great tone we were able to produce with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra,” Omon said.

Echoing that sentiment was HBA junior and HYS clarinetist, Natalie Narito. “I felt extremely privileged and grateful to play next to such talented performers,” Narito said. “The HSO players were so welcoming and made this experience unforgettable.”

Both Omon and Narito learned a lot in just two days of rehearsal. “I learned better techniques to create a better sound with my bass clarinet (which I just started playing for one of the pieces), how to play with better musicality, and how to avoid any ‘accidents’ during the concert,” explained Omon. For Narito, time spent with clarinet mentor and HSO veteran Jim Moffitt helped her “improve and be a better musician.”

Aaron Omon, Vincent Ogasawara, and Natalie Narito pause for a picture before showtime.

Vincent Ogasawara, HBA junior and HYS trumpet player, also strengthened his musical skills from playing alongside the pros. “I learned how to phrase and accent the notes better,” he explained. Ogasawara admits, however, that the experience was a little nerve racking for him. “I wanted to play my best, with no mistakes… but oh well, mistakes were made,” he said.

HBA student participation in the Hawaii Youth Symphony program has grown steadily over the past three years. This year, there are four students in HYS I, six in HYS II, and eight in Concert Orchestra, with many other students taking part in the 10-day Pacific Music Institute in the summer.

Youth Symphony I

Matthew Li ‘21 (cello)
Natalie Narito ‘20 (clarinet)
Vincent Ogasawara ‘20 (trumpet)
Aaron Omon ‘22 (clarinet)

Youth Symphony II

Jason Hee ‘20 (french horn)
Courtney Lee ‘19 (trumpet)
Andy Siu ‘22 (Violin)
Rena Takatsuka ‘19 (french horn)
Ryder Watanabe ‘20 (trumpet)
Hunter Yokoyama ‘20 (trombone)

Concert Orchestra

Emma Chun ‘22 (viola)
Jason Ebesu ‘21 (clarinet)
Clara Li ‘22 (violin)
Natasha Loh ‘20 (bassoon)
Megan Loh ‘19 (double bass)
Kyle Siu ‘24 (violin)
Kisa Tamai ‘22 ( french horn)
Logan Tom ‘21 (french horn)
Reese Yoshikawa ‘22 (clarinet)

Related Article: Pacific Music Institute 2018