Taking music to a higher degree



The Colburn School offers professional training in classical instrumental music.

After hearing the positive feedback their fellow orchestra and band members had to offer about the Colburn School, several Diamond Bar High School students auditioned for and were admitted into the Los Angeles conservatory’s music program.

Colburn is a performing arts academy that provides music programs for all grade levels. One DBHS senior involved in the program is violinist Kelly Tsao, who is also a member of the school orchestra. She has attended Colburn’s music program since the sixth grade after her parents encouraged her to go due to the atmosphere and prestige of the school.

“My teacher introduced me to Colburn,” Tsao said. “I heard it had a really good orchestra and chamber music program, and my brother did go there before so that’s how I knew about it.”

In her second year of attending Colburn, Tsao performed at the Walt Disney Hall, where she started to interact with other people in her orchestra. Additionally, she and her orchestral group performed at the LACMA theater in her third year, where the music was broadcast on the classical radio station  KUSC. Tsao said that since Colburn is focused on allowing their attendees to improve as musicians; it makes her feel as if she’s already experiencing college even as a high school student.

“There’s a lot of rooms you can practice in,” Tsao said. “It gives you a college feel already even though you’re a high-schooler.”

Similar to Tsao, junior Victoria Canonizado’s family was an influential factor in her involvement in music, as her father and brother are both musicians.

“My dad’s a drummer,” Canonizado said. “He was a big part of the reason why I got into that and why music is such a big part in my life. Also, my brother  was just really involved in the music program. It’s very family-orientated.”

Canonizado has been playing percussion since she was 10. When she was 14, her coach encouraged her to audition to the music program.

Though Canoniado is not attending the program this year, she admired the focus the students at Colburn placed in advancing their musical skills when she was involved with the school in the past.

“There’s no other place, I feel like, where you’ll see every single person has the same dedication to music,” Canonizado said. “At Colburn, everyone’s really involved in it as much as you are.”

Canonizado sees herself becoming a professional musician in the future.

“I’m definitely going to continue it after high school, and one of the big things I really want is to be in the orchestras that play for Broadway musicals,” Canonizado said.

For senior and violist Jonathan Ho, the DBHS co-orchestra president, this is his first year attending Colburn.

He chose to attend Colburn due to the popularity of the academy and the opportunities they have to offer.

“The opportunities I get at Colburn are significantly better than I think I would get elsewhere,” Ho said. “It’s well known. Good faculty, good guests go there. You get the best of everything as opposed to one good aspect of another youth orchestra.”

Ho said the environment of Colburn is unique to typical youth orchestras because, since Colburn is a private school, the students and faculty of the academy are living alongside high school students.

“When you have normal youth orchestras, it’s very kid-oriented,” Ho said. “But there, you’re meeting a lot of people more advanced than you that are teaching you.”