This summer, a junior at Red River High School is heading to Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Aiden Krogh won't be in the audience. He'll be on stage.
Krogh has been selected as one of eight cellists in the country to participate in the highly selective Carnegie Hall National Youth Orchestra program. As a member of Carnegie's NYO2 group, he'll participate in a three-week, intensive music training program that culminates with a concert July 30 at the venerable New York music performance hall.
Krogh, 16, is the first string player ever chosen from North Dakota and the first Grand Forks student of any instrument to be selected for the program, said Naomi Welsh, executive director of the Northern Valley Youth Orchestras.
"I really wasn't expecting to get in, but I did," said Krogh, the son of David Krogh and Larissa Hood of Grand Forks.
He was selected on the basis of a recorded solo audition, a short biography essay and a video essay, he said.
"It just shows that, even if you don't necessarily think you'll be able to do something, if you try hard enough and work hard enough, you'll be able to do it," he said.
This is only the second time students from North Dakota have been selected for the program, Welsh said. Krogh is "a great young person who works incredibly hard at something he loves," she said.
"That doesn't always equal national success, but it is sure nice when it does."
Carnegie officials selected 80 outstanding American instrumentalists ages 14 to 17 to participate in its 2019 NYO2 program.
The students, who are coming from 30 states and Puerto Rico, have been recognized by Carnegie Hall as "exceptionally talented musicians who demonstrate a very high level of artistry," according to a news release from Carnegie Hall.
They represent a wide range of backgrounds and come from communities that often have been underserved and underrepresented in the field.
As a member of NYO2, Krogh will have the opportunity to learn from professional musicians from top orchestras and make music side-by-side with students who have been selected for other Carnegie Hall youth orchestras.
They'll study with the program's faculty members who lead private lessons, master classes, chamber music readings and other seminars on essential skills.
They will receive two weeks of intensive training in New York and one week in Miami, where they'll have the opportunity to train with members of the New World Symphony, with whom they
will perform in concert July 27 at the New World Center.
All expenses, except for transportation to and from New York, are paid by the Carnegie program.
One other student from North Dakota, Joanna Lin, a clarinet player from Fargo, also was chosen to participate in the 2019 NYO2 program.
Decade of practice
Krogh, who began playing cello as a first-grader, doesn't remember much about why he chose that instrument, but he may have been influenced by his father and an older sister, both of whom are violinists, he said.
"I always thought that the cello was a cool instrument. I really liked the sound, and I knew I liked playing it," Krogh said.
He took private lessons from Jennifer Goeke of Grand Forks and, later, from Welsh, whose primary instrument is cello.
Krogh has earned other honors from organizations, including the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony. As winner of its Young Artists Solo Competition, he performed as featured soloist for the symphony's Young People's Concerts last week in Fargo.
He was selected to the North Dakota All-State Orchestra.
Krogh, who also plays piano, is a member of the Northern Valley Youth Orchestras' Symphony and the RRHS Concert Choir. He is principal cellist in the RRHS Concert Orchestra.
"I owe a lot of credit to Northern Valley Youth Orchestras-especially my time in the Symphony Orchestra-for exposing me to challenging repertoire," he said.
He appreciates the progress he's made under Naomi Welsh's guidance, he said.
"She's allowed me to grow and improve a lot."
He's also grateful to Jeff Seabloom, RRHS teacher, "for all his dedication and time he puts into our school orchestra program."
Didn't give up
Looking forward to this summer's experience, Krogh is excited about the prospect of "being around a bunch of really good musicians who are like me and are the same age as me, and also really care about what they do," he said.
The opportunity to meet, work with and learn from other students "will be really interesting," he said.
This year was the second time Krogh auditioned for the Carnegie program, he said.
"I auditioned last year and I didn't get it."
But he didn't give up.
Being selected this year "means that if you practice a lot you can get anywhere. Really, I mean, there's no limit," he said.
"It was pretty cool to have some sense of 'I accomplished this.' "