Seniors Selected to All-National Honor Ensembles

Punahou guitarists Nathan Kwon ’21 and Riley White ’21 and singer Mari Shoop ’21 were recognized as being among the country’s top music students to perform in the annual All-National Honor Ensembles. The online concert, sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), will premiere in March.

Kwon and White are members of Punahou School’s top guitar ensemble, Classic Guitar Ensemble II, and earned their spots to participate in the All-National Honor Ensembles among 43 of the country’s top high school guitarists. This will be the second year in a row that Kwon has been selected by NAfME to participate.

Shoop is a member of Punahou’s Creative Music Studio program where she studies vocal performance, songwriting and music production. She is a vocalist in the Punahou Jazz Band, the Holokū Musicians Band and has had roles in musicals with Punahou Theatre. She earned one of only three vocalist spots in the Modern Band (rock band) All National Honor Ensemble.

All three students train under music faculty Darin Au, who directs both the Academy Guitar Program and Creative Music Studio at Punahou. Au will receive special recognization by NAfME when his composition for guitar ensemble, Gävlebocken, is premiered at the All National event, with Kwon and White as part of the recording.

“Placement in each of these ensembles is competitive by audition,” said Mike Lippert, Academy Music Department head and director of Academy Choirs. “Both guitar and modern band ensembles are relatively new at the national level, and it speaks a lot to Darin’s mentorship that we have three students placed into them. It’s also a big honor for Darin to be a commissioned composer for one of the ensembles.”

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