Hi! I’m Faithlin Hunter and I’ve played the violin for 9 years now. This will be my 4th year in the PHS orchestra and I’m so thankful for the program being in my life. I have done many ensemble groups since joining orchestra, one being solo and ensemble as a soloist in 5th grade and as a duet with Olivia Kuss from 6th-9th grade. In 11th grade, I was a member of Prep-Chamber, and now as a 12th grader I am an active member in Chamber as well as the leader of the Strings Pop ensemble. In the orchestra, I currently hold the title of co-President alongside Sabrina Rodriguez. Within the high school orchestra, I was first chair violin in String Orchestra my freshman year, second violin in Advanced Orchestra my sophomore year, and have been a first violin in Advanced Orchestra since my junior year. Beyond orchestra, in high school I have been awarded with things such as High Honor Roll, Student of the Month, and the AP Scholar award. I also had the honor of playing in the National Orchestra Festival held in Atlanta, Georgia as a combined orchestra with Calvert High. Many of my favorite memories come from that amazing experience, especially the bus ride sitting next to my long time friend Olivia (as previously mentioned). We sat next to the potty the entire ride up to Georgia and laughed endlessly over the crazy things we’ve been through, such as the 9 long years we’ve spent together that all started in 4th grade orchestra. The entire trip was filled with memories to last a lifetime, like our album filled with photos from Atlanta’s aquarium and the selfie we took with a kid sleeping in the background at the awards ceremony. My shoutouts go to the following (I’m sorry if I miss anyone, I can’t say something about every single person of the orchestra!): Firstly, Olivia Kuss for sticking with me through my journey in orchestra, being a best friend since the fourth grade, and still bothering to put up with my crazy antics; Sabrina Rodriguez for being a great friend to laugh with and enjoy the small things in life, knowing just what I’m going to say and always making my day that much better; Mitchell Richman for being there with me through it all no matter what, including our theater moments, because you understand when most can’t and you’ll always be there for me when I just need a friend to call on; Mazi Zachary for being a new friend to me, I love talking to you during our lunch time in Dr. Blockland’s office, especially when we start ranting and complaining about everything in life; Kevin Cheng for never letting up on the physics jokes because AP 2 was not forgiving, but at least we can laugh about it now that it’s over; Anna Strauss for being a great person who’s been there to struggle with me through long NOF rehearsals and endless homework questions; and of course Dr. Blockland for being the best orchestra teacher I’ve had, always pushing me to do better and to do more, and seeing all my potential by giving me chances to grow stronger as a violinist and a person. I love and appreciate every single person who has made a difference in my life, so thank you. My future plans are to attend college to major in the Mathematics field and minor in Dance. I hope to still continue my passions for music as well as theater if college will let me balance all of that on my plate. I would love to travel as I grow a bit older and maybe become a little more known to the world. I want to make my mark, no matter the career I choose or the life I live. Here’s to the journey that lies ahead!
Olivia Kuss - cello
Hello there, my name is Olivia. I play the cello and I’ve been in orchestra for almost 9 years. My few greatest accomplishments in orchestra have been absolute life changers for me. From 6th-9th grade I enjoyed participating in solo and ensemble with my dear friend Faithlin Hunter. She’s always been there throughout my entire orchestra experience, i wouldn’t be the cellist i am without her pushing me to do better. In 11th grade, Patuxent and Calvert went to National Orchestra Festival, which was the greatest experience ever. We got an excellent rating, in other words a 2, even though our music was hard, It was really fun and Doc Block was so proud of us even though we didn’t win. Faithlin and I fell off for a couple years but the NOF bus ride up there made us reconnect and become great friends again, I guess you can say she will be a life long friend. The people that have impacted my life in a positive way is of course, Doctor Blockland and my middle school teacher Mrs. Jones. They taught me what I know best. I used to hate this girl her name is Libby, but now thanks to orchestra we are best friends and she will always be my best friend. Also, a big Thank you to Kelsey Raley, for inspiring me to pursue music as not just a hobby, but to hopefully go to a four year college in the future to study music so I can do what I love for the rest of my life. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m glad this family at Pax has held me up and turned me into a better person. It has been a journey Pax orchestra!
Taylor Welch - viola
My name is Taylor Welch, I'm a senior and I play viola. I started playing the viola when I was in 5th grade. I love being in the orchestra because orchestra is like a whole family. We always support one another help each other when we are struggling.
Senior Bios 2018
Melanie Baugher - violin
I have been in orchestra since fourth grade. It has been a constant in my life and my escape from the stresses of school. I don’t know if I would have made it through high school without it. Orchestra, especially this year, has taught me so much. The trip for National Orchestra Festival was such a great way to my high school career. It was so much fun, and it was some of the hardest music I have played. I love orchestra and I am really grateful I stuck with it.
Brandyn Carter-Carroll - viola
Whenever I think about playing the viola I go back to fourth grade when we had to pick something to play; and I remember looking down at the paper and saw viola and in my mind, I was thinking what the heck is a viola and I circled it wondering what will happen. 10 years later and it was the best choice I could've ever made. When I would go to orchestra I would think " I'm going to be doing this forever and it will never get old", and now senior year is here and it's my last year playing with my friends, my last year to laugh with them, my last year to take amazing trips, and to gather in Mrs. Blockland's office during lunch and just sit in there and talk. Doing orchestra was the best I could've ever made and meeting an amazing teacher and friend Mrs. Blockland.
Kayla Horton - violin
Hello everyone! Tonight, is the last opportunity I have to play musical selections with my high school orchestra peers, a bittersweet moment for all of us, to say the least. I have been a member of the orchestra community since I was in fourth grade, and I have loved orchestra and the opportunities music has provided me with ever since. Through orchestra, I have met some of my closest friends and have been lucky to be a member of an orchestra with a fabulous director. I want to thank Mrs. Blockland for (nicely) forcing me out of my shell of shyness and providing me with opportunities to grow not only as a musician but also as a person. I also would like to thank Mr. Lane for caffeinating us for three-hour pit rehearsals; that’s it! Just kidding! Thank you, Mr. Lane, for being a fun-spirited director and brightening my day with daily *whips*; you’re the best! And to my fellow orchestra members, I hope you all enjoy orchestra as much as I have these past four years. Thank you all for your dedication and passion; I’m going to miss all of you when I head off for college. Needless to say, orchestra will always be a part of me, and I am so thankful to have met the people of this community. Here’s to an unforgettable senior year!
Kelsey Raley - cello
I have been playing the cello for nine years. Out of all the decisions I have made in my life so far, I think this decision has been my best. I have never once had regrets about playing my instrument. I always knew music was a big part of who I was, but I never imagined I would go this far with it. I get to continue this study at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a Music Performance major. My high school career has shaped me into the musician I am today. I have participated in Solo & Ensemble, All- County, Tri- County, the National Orchestra festival, and chamber orchestra within our school. This year, I was in the pit orchestra for The Little Mermaid, and I had so much fun playing music everyday with my closest friends and having Stephen Lane as our director (Les Poissons. All I have to say.) So, a big thanks to all of them for making the musical an enjoyable time. I have also been the president of our wonderful orchestra for two years now. I am so lucky to lead our group alongside Dr. Blockland. She has helped me realize my future goals in music, and I can't thank her enough for the support and love she has given to me. I would also like to thank Jim and Melissa for supporting my art and for providing me with a beautiful instrument to make beautiful music. They introduced me to music and have helped me to experience it; not just listen. Lastly, I would like to thank my orchestra. They have inspired me, and I love being able to share this passion with them. I can't wait to make more music for you all. "Music, being identical with heaven, isn't a thing of momentary thrills, or even hourly ones. It's a condition of eternity." -Gustav Holst
Jun Howard - viola
I have been playing the viola for 8 years and I have never thought about quitting. Throughout the 8 years of being in orchestra, I have met so many people and had the pleasure of being friends with them as well. Although I have not played in All-County and Tri-County or anything else I had an incredible experience with all of my classmates. I think my funniest or best memory of orchestra is when we went to Universal Studios. It was a fun and unique experience to have. I'd like to thank my parents for supporting me and encouraging me to continue. I would also like to thank our wonderful secretary, Annmarie Budde for being a really great friend and such a good leader in our class. After high school I plan to attend CSM and study dentistry.
Annmarie Budde - viola
I have been in Orchestra for ten years and have loved every minute of it. I have participated in solo and ensemble, All-county orchestra, Tri-county Orchestra, Festival, and The National Orchestra Festival in my musical career. I have also been the Secretary of the Orchestra for the past three years. As the Secretary, I was able to start the sponsorship program we all know and love today as well as being responsible for bringing famous musicians like Mark Wood and Sarah Charness to both Patuxent and Calvert High. I have made many friendships throughout the years and am very sad to leave my orchestra family. However; I will always remember the funny moments we have shared together like the time Mazi and Kevin prank called Steffan (a senior who graduated last year) on the bus ride to All-county. It was so early in the morning for a college student and he was still half asleep and confused as to what was going on, but he took it like a champ. It was such a fun time and I will never forget it. I only hope they don’t decide to prank call me next year. I also enjoyed going to the National Orchestra Festival this past March. We spent what felt like an eternity on a bus ride watching Disney movies and singing along to the music. It may sound awful, but I met some amazing people from Calvert on that ride and still talk to them today. At the festival itself, we spent countless hours playing the coolest instruments. I was able to play a $150,000 viola and was so afraid that I would drop it. I even played a $80,000 violin and I’m not even a violinist, but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity. However; I did hear Mazi and Kevin, a pair of fabulous violinists, play the instrument and I was awful in comparison, but they were phenomenal. I have never been in a conference strictly for orchestra student before, but it was outstanding, and I will never forget the experience. I owe my love for the Viola to my amazing parents and am so thankful for their encouragement when I first began to play. I know there must have been countless nights of just terrible screeching from me playing at first, but I hope it paid off in their opinion. I also want to thank Dr. Blockland for having so much faith in me when at times I did not have faith in myself. She has taken me on so many adventures and I will always be thankful for her being one of my closest friends. Out of everyone, I am going to miss her the most. I am attending Virginia Tech as a double major in Biochemistry and Chemistry and am planning to follow the wind on any further plans than that.
Sophie Concannon - violin
Through Patuxent’s orchestra program, I’ve been lucky enough to participate in some of the most meaningful and enjoyable opportunities of my high school experience. Highlights of this wonderful program include the 2018 trip to Georgia with the most talented and dedicated kids I know and playing in pit orchestra with my closest friends under the direction of the thoroughly mediocre Steven Lane. Thank-you-thank-you-thank-you to Dr. Blockland and my parents for their constant support (and donuts and coffee) and for making this a wonderful final year at PHS!
Kijuan Hurst - bass
I’ve been in orchestra for 8 years but 5 of those years I played the violin, but I’ve been playing the bass for the last 3 years. I’ve got to say that playing the bass is a lot better for me. The funniest orchestra moments I remember is when Will and Kelsey would start roasting each other in the middle of class and no one wouldn’t notice, and it would be the funniest thing ever. I would like to thank Doctor Blockland for not only trying to help me be the best that I can be even through my transition from violin to bass she still believed that it would be better for me to be a bass instead of a violin and now I see that she was right, and I thank her for seeing that in me and helping me to be a good bass player. I am going Northern Vermont -Johnson in the fall to study business management and to play lacrosse there as well.
Elizabeth Snyder - viola
Music has always been a significant part of my life for as long as I can remember. For eight years I have dedicated countless hours to what most people see as a carved piece of spruce wood with brass strings. The stress of my day is instantly liberated as the rosined bow hairs meet the string and my fingers fluctuate from note to note. These four strings have revealed to me the patience and practice it takes to master a piece of music, as well as how to work cooperatively with other human beings to perform as one orchestra. Without orchestra I would not be the same person I am today. Being surrounded by those who share the same interest as I do is an extraordinary environment.