Chelsea Lee looks like any other teenager but five minutes alone with her and you know, this kid is anything but average. Every day, she leaves home at 6:30 a.m., often not returning again until 8 p.m., after a long day of school, swimming practice and music rehearsals.
Despite the pressure, she maintains a sunny disposition and a drive to meet her goals.
Earlier this year, Lee won the Dover Symphony's Youth Concerto Competition, sealing her a classical musician's dream: a solo with the DSO.
Here, she discusses her love of music and what her daily life is like.
First, a few facts about Lee...
- AGE 15
- PARENTS Dr. Harvey and Mrs. Dorothy Lee
- SIBLINGS Emily, 14, and Jonathan, 11
- SCHOOL Sussex Tech High School
- HOMETOWN Milford
Q You play piano, violin and flute. What's your favorite?
A My favorite instrument is the violin. I enjoy playing the violin more than piano and flute because the violin is more technical. I can be more expressive since I could control the tone and the volume with the amount of bow and the use of vibrato.
Q Which one is the most difficult?
A Violin is also the hardest instrument to play. Since the violin is more musical and technical, it requires more practice.
Q You study privately with DSO soloist Stefan Xhori. What's that like?
A I was intimidated at first because he seemed strict and serious. I am more comfortable with him now but I still have to live up to his expectations. I have to practice on a regular basis. The most valuable advice he gave me was to always start practice with at least ten minutes of scales and finger exercises because it's the actual foundation in playing a difficult song.
Q Does your musical interests leave much time for anything else?
A Yes, I am on the swim team. It's a lot of work and hard dedication but in the end, it makes me a stronger swimmer and more disciplined. In addition, I am in the Jefferson Student Leadership team and I play the flute in my high school marching band.
Q So, what do you do for fun or to unwind?
Page 2 of 2 - A I don't really watch that much TV or movies but I do watch anime shows on my computer. In my extra time I like to go on the computer and play apps on my iPad.
Q What's your favorite piece of classical music and what's your favorite popular music?
A My favorite classical piece is Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, op. 64. I listen to all types of different music but I do love listening to Fighter by Christina Aguilera.
Q Have you started thinking about what you'd like to study in college or where you'd like to go?
A I would really like to pursue a career in medicine and music. I would like to attend an Ivy League college.
Q Well, what's one thing that nobody knows or understands about you that you wish they did?
A One thing no one understands about me is that I am stronger than I look. At a first glance, I seem a little timid and quiet but I do have a lot to say and I am confident.
Q Who's your hero?
A My heroes are my parents. They have the best intentions for me and provide the best resources so that I may learn and develop life skills. They always keep me focused.
Q What's the best or worst advice you've ever received?
A The best advice I got was to live life to the fullest in the way that is best for you.
Q You have a solo with the Dover Symphony coming up this weekend? Are you nervous?
A I am nervous to play my solo, especially with so many people who are going to watch me play. But all in all I think that I will play my best and deliver an excellent song to the audience.
Q Anything else your soon-to-be adoring public should know?
A I would like to say that music opens up the soul to a new world where expression and noise come together to form something that is indescribable. I think that without music, the world would be so much more gloomy and dull. Music has really helped to develop my career over the years and provide the activity that I enjoy doing everyday.
Chelsea's solo is Sunday afternoon at the Dover Symphony Orchestra's "Ringing in the Holiday Season" concert event. Tickets are $15 to $20 and can be purchased by visiting here. The concert will be held at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, located at 1131 N. Dupont Highway.