While most pre-college students are considerably stress-free with plenty of downtime, there are young prodigies working hard to present chamber music played at a professional level.

ETSU’s own Pre-College Program works to provide youth with opportunities to strive for a higher education.

The program has worked closely with the ETSU’s Department of Music in order to teach these students how to better themselves in their playing.

Jonathan Lugo, 15, works closely with some of the professors in the department.

Lugo plays violin, viola and sub-piano in the orchestra. While the group only officially meets once a week for their two-hour session, Lugo says he typically practices two hours a day on his music.

For Lugo, his interest and passion in the program lies solely in the chamber music. Though only a freshman in high school, his admiration of his conductor has him considering ETSU as a definite possibility for future colleges.

As far as a future career goes, Lugo said, “I will definitely keep playing chamber music. I’m not sure if it’ll be a career, but we’ll see.”

David Kovac, an assistant professor for violin and viola in the department of music, said the students had been working on these pieces since January. From artists such as Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi, the students were playing pieces the audience was familiar with hearing.

“I like to pick repertoire that’s difficult, challenging but also manageable,” said Kovac. “I think it’s important to have a confident and strong performance and something they can do really well.”

With students ranging from ages 7–20, he works with pupils with varying levels of experience and talent. He said since the older students are fewer in number, they tend to mentor the younger students and help with their playing.

“It’s inspiring for them, because when the younger ones get to play with the older ones, it’s very motivating, and they can work hard together,” said Kovac.

Kovac said he personally really enjoys working with his students.

He said, “It’s fun to see them perform at this level. I think they can sound very much like a professional group. It’s a real privilege to work with them.”

The concert was absolutely riveting. For students so young, it was surprising to hear such high caliber music. They performed brilliantly, with every perfect precision and passion a musician can experience at such an age.