Student spotlight: clarinetist Sarah Hughes


Senior Sarah Hughes joined Mercy’s symphony orchestra as a senior (Photo Credit: Theresa Walle).

Though the black lines, dots, and squiggles scrawled across a piece of paper may seem to have no meaning to many, to senior Sarah Hughes they are letters forming an unusual alphabet, the key to an international language known to all: music.

“I practice twice a week for an hour,” said Hughes. “I warm up, go through scales, and work on any pieces I’m struggling with.”

This only accounts for Hughes’s individual practice, though. A clarinetist for seven years, Hughes possesses a deep appreciation for orchestral music. While this is only her first semester in Mercy’s symphony orchestra, Hughes was part of the Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra in 2012 and 2013 and this year joined the Plymouth Youth Orchestra which meets once a week.

Hughes’s appreciation for music started at a young age and was strengthened by her parents’ support. Although her mother is a classical music lover, Hughes says it was her father who introduced her to the broad world of music.

“I remember going to a BB King concert with my dad and him teaching me about the beat in music,” said Hugues. “That was my earliest memory of learning about music and really where my love of music started.”

Hughes enjoys playing in orchestra at Mercy, and she will perform in a quartet comprised of Mercy students at the Michigan State Band and Orchestra Association District Solo and Ensemble in January with hopes to advance to the state level. Hughes says she loves orchestra because each musician must work together as a team.

“All the instruments are like the organs of the body, all working together to make music beautiful,” said Hughes.