- Westchester Elementary
KHS Band Students Selected to Interlochen Arts Camp and St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra
Three Kirkwood High School (KHS) band students were selected to two prestigious band programs. KHS senior Jacob Buchek, tuba; senior Abigail Konopik, French horn; and junior Elizabeth Myers, bassoon; were selected for both the 53rd season of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra (SLSYO) and attended Interlochen Arts Camp, the nation’s premier multidisciplinary summer arts program for aspiring artists in grades 3 through 12. All three students are also members of the Kirkwood High School Pioneer Pride Band, St. Louis All-Suburban Band, and the Missouri All-State Orchestra.
St. Louis Symphony
Approximately 100 young musicians between the ages of 12-22 are selected after auditioning for a panel of St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) musicians. Youth Orchestra (YO) members represent more than 40 schools throughout the bi-state region. There are over 2,000 alumni in a wide range of professions, including six current members of the SLSO.
In addition to rehearsing and performing challenging orchestral repertoire under the direction of the SLSO Assistant Conductor Stephanie Childress, musicians receive regular coaching and mentoring from the world-class musicians of the SLSO. The YO presents three concerts per season in historic Powell Hall.
Interlochen Arts Camp
Artistic students ages 8-18 from around the world convene at Interlochen to expand their capacity in music, theatre, dance, creative writing, visual arts, and film. Through daily classes, enriching electives, and frequent performances, Interlochen students represent the full breadth of the arts, pursue creative breakthroughs, and forge lifelong cross-cultural friendships. Immersed in a multidisciplinary artistic environment, young creatives find reflection, rejuvenation, and inspiration on Interlochen’s pristine 1,200-acre wooded campus.
“We are excited to celebrate the start of the 95th season of Interlochen Arts Camp,” said Trey Devey, President of Interlochen Center for the Arts. “It is thrilling to witness the remarkable growth that takes place at Interlochen as students discover their potential and take their talent to the next level.”
With a global alumni base that includes creative leaders in the arts and many other fields, Interlochen Arts Camp has been at the forefront of arts education for nearly a century. Among distinguished Camp alumni are Norah Jones, Josh Groban, Rufus Wainwright, Jessye Norman, Loren Maazel, actor Anthony Rapp, cartoonist Cathy Guisewite, and many more. Approximately ten percent of the nation’s professional orchestra musicians have roots at Interlochen and the alumni community has been awarded nearly 100 Grammy Awards.
In addition to hundreds of performances, presentations, and readings by young artists, Interlochen brings leading artists to its northern Michigan campus. In recent years, guest artists have included Joshua Bell, Diana Ross, Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma, Lady Antebellum, Harry Connick Jr., and many more.
Jacob is a seventeen-year-old senior at Kirkwood High School. He is thrilled to be part of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra for a third season. Jacob has also performed with the Interlochen Orchestra Summer Program in 2022, Community Music School Young People’s Concert Orchestra and the Young People’s Symphonic Orchestra as the principal tuba from 2019-2021. At Kirkwood High School, Jacob serves as the principal tuba for the Wind Ensemble.
Jacob began playing the tuba at the age of eleven when his band director at Nipher Middle School asked if anyone wanted to try out the tuba. Since that moment in 6th grade, playing the tuba has been his passion! Jacob is fortunate to study with Mike Sanders, Tyler Vahldick and Jacob Melsha for private tuba lessons and Judy Owens for piano lessons. Jacob is grateful for the excellent music instruction he receives at Kirkwood High School, especially from Rebecca Friesen and Matthew
When Jacob is not playing the tuba or the piano, he enjoys the outdoors, his dogs, video games, and his chickens. He especially loves to visit National Parks. His favorite National Park is Yellowstone National Park.
Jacob is grateful for his parents and teachers for all of their support to help him pursue his love of
Now a rising senior, Abigail Konopik has played horn since she was 10 years old. At the end of fourth grade, Abigail heard a metal circle play music for the first time and fell in love with the sound it made. Recently, she played as the principal horn player for the Young People’s Concert Orchestra offered through the Community Music School of Webster University, and the 6th chair horn in the Missouri All-State Concert Band during the 2019/2020 season. These experiences reinforced her love of playing and helped inspire her to audition for the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and NAfME All-National Concert and Symphonic Bands. She was accepted into both. This will be her first year playing with SLSYO and All-National, and she is grateful for the opportunities!
Abigail would like to thank her private teachers Rebecca Braun and Tod Bowermaster for their instruction, as well as her band director Rebecca Friesen, the musical staff at Kirkwood High School and her middle school band director Josh Johnson for their encouragement. All these people have pushed her out of her comfort zone and helped her grow as a musician. She would also like to thank her parents for their endless support.
Aside from marveling about how magical a metal circle can be, she enjoys playing piano; where she marvels about playing multiple notes at once. She spends her other time trying her hand at random languages, sleeping too much, and narrowly avoiding kitchen fires from improvised recipes. Abigail looks forward to the upcoming season more than anything she could ever create—and is infinitely excited to play with such wonderful musicians!
Elizabeth is currently a junior attending Kirkwood High School. She has been playing bassoon for 6 years, and this is her second season with the SLSYO. In addition to playing bassoon, she also enjoys swimming for the Kirkwood High School swim team and playing piano in her school’s jazz band.
She has been selected for the All-Suburban Honors Band every year since seventh grade. As a freshman, she was selected as an alternate for the Missouri All-State Band, and was selected as 2nd chair bassoon in the All-State Orchestra as a sophomore. Before joining the YO, she also participated in the Young People’s Concert Orchestra with the Community Music School at Webster University. Recently, she attended the Bassoon Intensive at Interlochen Arts Camp, working under Dr. Leigh Muñoz, Dr. Eric Stomberg, and Benjamin Kamins.
Elizabeth would like to thank her parents for supporting her music career both emotionally and financially, and she would also like to thank her band directors at Kirkwood High School. She would especially like to thank Jeff Panhorst and Felicia Foland, her private instructors, for all their guidance and support.