Collegiate High junior performs with National Youth Orchestra
Posted on 10/11/2019
Sasha Hitachi, a junior at Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State

Sasha Hitachi, a junior at Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State, spent the summer traveling and performing with the National Youth Orchestra at some of the most prestigious venues in the country, including Carnegie Hall in New York and the New World Symphony Center in Miami. During the experience with the National Youth Orchestra, Hitachi and other participants prepped for concerts at a two-week residency at Purchase College in New York.

“While at Purchase, I averaged playing seven to eight hours a day, and had to be very focused on the orchestral music as well as my personal practice,” Hitachi said.

For the first performance, the National Youth Orchestra traveled to Miami, where the group rehearsed for another week and met with conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto and guest artist and composer Gabriela Montero.

At Carnegie Hall, Hitachi learned under the tutelage of Demarre McGill, a leading soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. McGill is currently the principal flutist of the Seattle Symphony. “He has such a unique way of looking at music and pieces, and presents abstract concepts in a very understandable way,” Hitachi said. “He has this incredible energy both in his playing and overall presence, and I loved getting to learn from him.”

The experience continued to build an impressive resume of performance for the young Collegiate High musician that includes her selection as one of only six to play with renowned Swiss flutist Emmanuel Pahud last year at the University of Georgia.

Hitachi credits her enrollment in Collegiate High as instrumental in the pursuit of her musical passions. The flexibility of the faculty and her schedule has allowed her to travel, compete, and practice.

Collegiate High is a partnership between Hamilton County Schools and Chattanooga State. The school helps students expedite their education and get a head start on college by earning college credit hours. Collegiate High graduates have the opportunity to finish with a high school diploma and a college associate’s degree. Collegiate High is part of the Missionary Ridge Learning Community in Hamilton County and was recently named a Level 5 school for student growth and a Tennessee Reward school. Reward status is the state’s highest designation for academic achievement.