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John Marshall High School Strings students Andy Rice and McKenna Gump played during the 26th annual Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) Side-By-Side Concert.

The program gives aspiring young musicians the unique opportunity to rehearse and perform “side-by-side” with their Pittsburgh Symphony counterparts on the Heinz Hall Stage. Participants were selected for the event based on responses from their applications, with particular emphasis placed on their teachers’ recommendations, curricular and extra-curricular activities, experience and maturity and enthusiasm and involvement in music.

Program highlights also include rehearsals with PSO Associate Conductor Earl Lee and coaching sessions with PSO musicians.

“The side-by-side performance was a tremendous event that helped me grow as a musician in ways I have not experienced before,” explained Rice. “The event showed me how much personal effort it takes to perform each musical passage well.”

Gump was just as grateful and excited about what she gained from the experience. “This event gave me the wonderful opportunity to learn what is expected of a professional musician and gain a better understanding of my role in an orchestral setting. The PSO provided me with an invaluable lesson in what it means to be a musician.” The students’ months of hard work and practice culminated with a final performance on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. A group of JM Strings students went to watch the concert as well.

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