May 4, 2021 --
Every year, the Instrumental Music Department (IMD) of Cleveland Heights High School has traditionally featured outstanding seniors who compete for the opportunity to play a solo piece with either the Heights High Symphony or Symphonic Winds. However, because in-person, indoor concerts with large groups have not been possible to hold during the 2020-2021 school year, IMD Directors Brett Baker and Daniel Heim offered the opportunity for the Class of 2021 to submit individual video recorded performances for this year. Mr. Baker and Mr. Heim hoped this substitute method would still allow for distinguished senior instrumentalists and their performances to be celebrated on the district website.
The candidate videos were adjudicated directly after Spring Break with the help of Mr. Andrew Bennekamper, and the IMD is excited to now present the winning videos of four select seniors: Franco Casucci (trombone), Katrina Palmer (viola), Zelda Thayer-Hansen (violin)
, and Marissa Veccia (cello). Each one will be released during a separate week leading up to graduation.
started playing the viola when she was five years old. She wanted to play an instrument like her older sister, Emily (violin), so Katrina began taking private lessons with Laura Shuster. A few years later, she wanted to learn to play the piano, and she studied with Sara Smith for eight years.
Katrina has performed with the Heights High Symphony for four years, serving as Principal Violist for the last two. She also performed in the IMD’s Chamber Ensemble Program for two years. Outside of school, Katrina performed with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra for three years -- achieving Assistant Principal Viola her final season -- and with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra for one year. She is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and was both a camper and a counselor at the Reaching Heights Music Camp for many summers. Katrina also learned to play the Clarinet for the Heights Marching Band and participated for nearly three seasons prior to the COVID pandemic.
In addition to playing the viola, Katrina enjoys hanging out with her family and friends, biking, playing board games, and photography.
Katrina would like to thank her viola teacher, Laura Shuster for helping her develop her skills and always making sure Katrina has a smile on her face, and Mr. Heim for teaching her through her high school years and younger. She hopes that Mr. Heim will never stop making his jokes. Katrina would also like to thank all of the wonderful people who helped her in her musical journey, including her Mom and Dad, Emily, her extended family, her wonderful friends and her two cats and dog for always supporting her in every way. She will attend the College of Wooster in the Fall.
"Katrina's growth over these four years has been meteoric -- nothing short of amazing," says Mr. Heim. "She has grown to be one of our strongest, most reliable section leaders!"