Byrne looks to build and share musical repertoire

Hitting+the+high+note--+Seniors+Katie+Byrne+%28right%29+and+Shruti+Bhatia+%28left%29+perform+at+the+Wadsworth+Atheneum+with+the+Madrigrals.+Byrne+and+Bhatia+have+been+singing+together+for+the+past+five+years.
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Byrne looks to build and share musical repertoire

Hitting the high note-- Seniors Katie Byrne (right) and Shruti Bhatia (left) perform at the Wadsworth Atheneum with the Madrigrals. Byrne and Bhatia have been singing together for the past five years.

Hitting the high note-- Seniors Katie Byrne (right) and Shruti Bhatia (left) perform at the Wadsworth Atheneum with the Madrigrals. Byrne and Bhatia have been singing together for the past five years.

Leslie Imse

Hitting the high note-- Seniors Katie Byrne (right) and Shruti Bhatia (left) perform at the Wadsworth Atheneum with the Madrigrals. Byrne and Bhatia have been singing together for the past five years.

Leslie Imse

Leslie Imse

Hitting the high note-- Seniors Katie Byrne (right) and Shruti Bhatia (left) perform at the Wadsworth Atheneum with the Madrigrals. Byrne and Bhatia have been singing together for the past five years.

Annabelle Lee, Editor-in-Chief

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Music has always been a source of joy for senior Katie Byrne, no matter what instrument or tool. Byrne originally began as a violinist and singer in elementary school, and later added viola to her musical skill set in her sophomore year.

Byrne continually works to build upon her extensive musical experience.

“Each year I find myself performing more and more often. This year especially was full of performances. Eventually I began focusing more on the social aspect of performing with other people and found that I was able to enjoy performing despite a few mistakes. In this way, I [found I was] simply making music for the sheer joy of it,” she said.

Ever since starting violin in second grade, Byrne has been invested in branching out musically. Aside from playing the violin for the past 10 years, she began playing the viola in tenth grade. In addition, she started singing in fourth grade, originally as a soprano for many years and more recently as an alto.

Despite the fact that singing is a secondary skill for Byrne, she has found success in this area. Byrne has been an All-National, All-State and All-Regional musician. She also plays the viola in the Hartt Community Division’s Connecticut Youth Symphony and is a member of the high school’s Madrigal Singers and the Chamber Orchestra.

According to Byrne, music teacher Carl Shugart and Music Department Chair Leslie Imse have influenced her the most. While Shugart sparked her love for music and teaching, Imse helped to hone her vocal skills and strengthen her understanding of music.

Her diligence has paid off as she was recently named the 2016 Music Scholar. According to Byrne, her most important achievement was the Connecticut Association of School’s music award.

“Receiving [the Connecticut Association of School’s music award] meant a lot to me because it recognizes academic excellence along with all that I have achieved in the music department over the past four years. To me it represents my growth as a musician, student and person,” Byrne said.

While her individual skills have grown during the past few years, Byrne especially likes the group component that comes with musical performances.

“My favorite thing about music is how it can bring people together. The most amazing feeling is when everyone in your ensemble is totally focused and the music comes together. I strive for that feeling every time I make music,” Byrne said.

In attaining this feeling, Byrne tries to actively help others with their own skills. Senior Shruti Bhatia has been singing with Byrne for the past five years.

“Katie’s very dedicated to being the best musician possible. She’s also dedicated to helping others with music because she not only likes helping others further their knowledge of music, she also wants to have music played out or sung out to its full potential,” Bhatia said.

Byrne plans on majoring in music education at Central Connecticut State University where she plans on inspiring others through music.

Imse said, “I am so proud of her and know that she is a lifelong learner. Katie will work hard to become an outstanding teacher touching the lives of many young musicians. If you know her as a person, you would see that she loves to help others and gives freely of her time to mentor her peers.”