Music has shaped Park City High School senior’s life
June 1, 2012
Park City High School senior Kimberly Thuman is planning to attend the University of Puget Sound’s School of Music in Tacoma, Wash., in August.
Thuman, a violist, is a recipient of the Presidential Scholar and the Talent Scholarship in the Area of Music, said she had her eye on a few schools when she started her college search.
"I wanted to attend a college that had a conservatory environment within a university setting," Thuman said during an interview with The Park Record. "I wanted to go to a place where I could get music training, but also some well-rounded schooling."
After auditioning at six universities, Thuman decided to go to Tacoma.
"Not only did it fit what I wanted musically and academically, the viola professor I will be working with, Joyce Ramee, is an acclaimed professor and is known to be very supportive of her students," Thuman said. "Orientation starts on August 17 and classes start on the 27th."
If it wasn’t for an in-school music program in a public-school district in New York, she may not have begun playing the viola.
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"My parents aren’t musical, nor is anyone is my family," she said. "I was lucky enough to attend a school that went to a Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra concert. That’s when I knew I wanted to play a string instrument."
Thuman began playing viola in second grade.
"When I moved to Utah in fifth grade, I entered the string program at Ecker Hill and studied with to Rebecca Suelzle," she said. "I knew there was something special and through her, music clicked with me and I found it was something I was very good at."
In ninth grade, Thuman began attending summer music festivals.
"I knew, after spending time with people who, like me, loved music and loved being in the concentrated environment, I made up my mind that music was something I wanted to study for a career."
While studying music, Thuman, who also cited Park City Chamber Music Society director Leslie Harlow and Brigham Young University professor Dr. Claudine Bigelow as her mentors, found she could apply some of the principles she learned toward her other classes.
"Music helped me academically, too, because I developed a strong work ethic, which has overall made me a hard worker," she said. "I developed problem-solving skills, because when you’re looking at a piece of music and trying to understand what the notes are and what the rhythm is, you have to break the piece down and make a step-by-step plan in order to get through it.
"Now, when I come to a situation in life that I’m not sure about, and realize I need to take extra time to analyze it," she said. "I break the situation down into smaller steps and work on those pieces one at a time and not take it all at once."
During her junior high and high school music career, Thuman has had the opportunity to play with various groups in Utah.
She was the principal violist for the Utah Youth Philharmonic and was a member of the All-State Orchestra, she said.
In addition to being the Region’s Sterling Scholar Music runner-up, she also had the chance to participate in the Utah Symphony’s Side-by-Side program.
"That was an amazing experience," Thuman said about the Utah Symphony opportunity. "A group of us were chosen to sit next to the musicians and participate in the symphony’s rehearsals," she said. "I was paired with the group of violists and got to play next to them and talk with them. They told me about their careers and gave me insight and advice on my career, and I was able to play with the symphony at Abravanel Hall.
"I played at Abravanel Hall before with the Youth Philharmonic, but it was never like playing next to the professionals who have jobs that I hope to have some day." She said.
Being a violist, Thuman is realistic about her chosen career.
"I probably won’t be doing the big solo career, but I can audition for and be part of a major symphony and play chamber music," she said. "Also, I wouldn’t be opposed to becoming a professor at a university or at a conservatory. I think that would be great.
"No matter what I do, whether it’s teaching or playing, music will be the focus," she said.