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LDS Teen Makes History as North Dakota's First Musician to Perform at Carnegie Hall with NYO2, Shares Faith

by | Jul. 17, 2017

Mormon Life

On July 18th, 2017, LDS 17-year-old Kari Jenks will become the first musician from North Dakota to perform at Carnegie Hall with the National Youth Orchestra 2 (NYO2). Launched in the summer of 2016 by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, NYO2 is an intensive orchestral training program designed for talented young musicians ages 14–17. 

Kari has been playing the oboe for 7 years and has performed in many ensembles, including the Minot Symphony Orchestra, North Dakota All-State Orchestra, and Magic City Jazz Band. She is known locally for her unique vibrato technique and expressive musicianship.

She feels that her lifestyle as a Latter-day Saint has influenced her experiences as a musician: "I think my faith makes the way I perform different from other individuals. . . . When I play I try to always have the Spirit with me and be expressive and tell a story with my music." Kari is grateful that the arts play such a large role in the Church. Through performing special musical numbers in church for large congregations, she has been able to gain confidence and practice working through performance nerves.

Kari's experiences in the arts have allowed her to interact with many people of different beliefs and lifestyles:

"Outside of playing, my musical friends are surprised when I don't swear, drink, or smoke like others do. I'm super grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the National Youth Orchestra 2 because Carnegie Hall has given us the opportunity to play in a fantastic orchestra in New York for free. It's been amazing meeting other musicians with similar goals as me . . . everyone is so nice and we connect very easily."

NYO2's performances this year will feature Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero, Music Director of the Nashville Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Miami Residency, and GRAMMY Award-winning artist Esperanza Spalding. They will perform two ballet suites—Copland's Billy the Kid and Stravinsky's The Firebird—as well as five works from Esperanza Spalding’s recent albums.

Lead image from Minot Daily News