Brainerd Dispatch/Jennifer Stockinger
If it was up to Heather Mastel-Lipson of Ironton, she would have been playing the violin at age 5.
Mastel-Lipson begged her parents for two years before they let her play the instrument. Nine years later she still plays violin and has earned many awards. The Brainerd High School sophomore now says, "I knew I wanted to play it and I was right. I love it."
Mastel-Lipson was named Fine Arts Student of the Week for her accomplishments in the BHS Chamber Orchestra. She was selected as third chair, first violin in the Minnesota All-State Orchestra for 2004-05. She also has qualified for four years for All-Conference Honors Orchestra and three years for Minnesota All-State Honors for mid-level orchestra.
She performed Vivaldi's "Spring" with the chamber orchestra and a violin concerto at the Minnesota Educators National Convention this year. She received 10 superior awards at the state solo and ensemble contest and has earned six perfect scores of 40 at the contest, starting in eighth grade. To top it off she performed in a string quartet at All-State Camp and was selected twice in the Stringwood Summer Quartet Camp in Lanesboro.
Art focus: Brainerd High School Chamber Orchestra
Art activities: Orchestra and symphonic band
Favorite subjects: Orchestra, English and Spanish
Most memorable fine arts achievement: Being selected for Minnesota All-State Orchestra for 2004-05
Artist most admired: None
Favorite movies: "Forest Gump" and "Mostly Martha"
Parents: Brigette Mastel and Mark Lipson, both of Ironton
Mastel-Lipson wanted to play the violin because she was a noisy child and the violin was one way to express herself. She said the string instrument was elegant looking and intriguing.
When Mastel-Lipson began playing the violin she attended a private school in Minneapolis. She moved to Ironton in fifth grade. She was home-schooled for a year and took violin lessons from Grant Wilcox, BHS orchestra director. In sixth grade she attended school in the Brainerd School District and qualified to be a member of the BHS Chamber Orchestra.
Even after nine years of playing the violin, Mastel-Lipson realizes there is always something new to learn. She said it is harder to play slow songs that have a few fast beats.
Her goal is to practice violin 2 1/2 hours a day, six days a week. Her day off, Monday, she plays the violin in orchestra class and in her quartet and has violin lessons.
Mastel-Lipson said she has the discipline to take time each day to play the violin. She is committed to playing, but needs to work on time management. She sometimes plays one song longer than another because she likes that song better.
Songs that are slow and romantic are her favorites. She doesn't like to play songs that are fast. However, she said there is no song that she despises.
Playing the violin is therapeutic for Mastel-Lipson. When she is stressed, she feels better after she plays the violin.
Mastel-Lipson and three other sophomores formed a quartet in eighth grade. They perform at the solo and ensemble contests every year and at the All-State Camp. They also play at weddings, the annual child abuse radiothon and other events.
"We are all at the same ability level and we have a passion for music," said Mastel-Lipson. "It's also fun and we learn from each other."
In February, Mastel-Lipson will perform Mendelssohn's "Vionin Concerto in e minor" for the orchestra's winter concert and at the Minnesota Music Educators Association's conference in Minneapolis. This is same song she played at the Minnesota All-State Orchestra where she earned a perfect score.
Her goal is to make Minnesota All-State Orchestra again and to improve her playing skills. She also hopes for a college scholarship.
Mastel-Lipson plans to study music in college. She would like to play in an orchestra or be in a quartet someday.
Sarah Gangl, junior, debate: Gangl joined the Lincoln-Douglas debate team this year. She has competed in three tournaments and had a 4-2 record at Bloomington Jefferson. Gangl's debate adviser said she is dedicated, works hard and should do well this season.
Brady Prince, senior, Fifth Street Journal: The newspaper's adviser said, "Brady is a hard working staff member for the Fifth Street Journal. His sports articles are always done well and include in-depth interviews. He never misses a deadline, and he has a good attitude."
Ariel Aakhus, junior, art: Aakhus is in a media arts class, which takes a great deal of self motivation. "She sets an example at excellence in class," said her adviser.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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