Shalabh Kapoor, a sophomore at Rancho Solano, was awarded the second oboe position in the prestigious Central Arizona All-Regional High School Band

Q. When did your interest in music begin? Was there a defining moment in your childhood that stands out?
A. I remember when my older sister started taking piano lessons when I was about seven years-old, and I got jealous watching her practice and hearing the measurable improvement in her skill. So I’d say my interest was sparked at age seven, and the memory of my sister at the piano bench is what inspired me to pursue music on my own.

Q. How long have you been playing the oboe and what drew you to that instrument in the first place?
A. Well, I practiced the piano first, then moved to the saxophone in fourth grade and played that for two years. In sixth grade, I switched to the oboe. We (my middle school band) had been introduced to a variety of instruments and I was interested in the oboe and the bassoon. Ultimately, it came down to a coin toss. I guess the oboe proved to be a good fit!

Q. How did you find out about the Phoenix All-Regional Band tryouts? 
A. Each state has them, so I knew they existed before I moved to Arizona. Ms. Kuberra (Rancho’s band instructor) encouraged me to sign up and guided me through the whole process of it all.

Q. Were you nervous when it came time to audition?
A. I was calm and confident prior to playing, but once I was in the room with the judge, I did get nervous. My fellow bandmates did a lot to help me prepare for this moment: one day, the whole band class got together and prepared a mock audition for me and acted as judges, registrars, and parents who then scored my performance. Ms. Kuberra also had me run up and down the stairs a few times to increase my heart rate to best mirror the physiological conditions with which I’d be performing.

Q. Any plans to practice music professionally?
A. I’ll always pursue music as a passion and as a hobby. The oboe is not my first and only love, as I also play the marimba, and want to pick up other instruments. Professionally, I see myself pursuing marine biology.

Shalabh Kapoor, a sophomore at Rancho Solano.

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