Facing the Music

Junior Nev Hommel joins Indianapolis Youth Orchestra in pursuit of a challenge


Junior Nev Hommel warms up by practicing her scales.

Samantha Cohen, Staff Writer

The violin has always been something that junior Nev Hommel has been drawn to. After hearing classical music and seeing others perform on the TV, Hommel has known since the first grade that she wanted to play.

Hommel began playing violin in the sixth grade, once school orchestra became an option.
Although she has played in the school orchestra for the past five years, she felt she needed more of a challenge. That is when her private lessons teacher first introduced her to the Indianapolis Youth Orchestra.

“My private lessons teacher had been telling me about it for a couple of years, so when I decided that school orchestra wasn’t as enjoyable to me anymore because I found it a little bit too easy, I wanted to challenge myself and expand my knowledge of music and composers,” Hommel said.

Hommel auditioned for the Indianapolis Youth Orchestra in July of 2019. For the audition she had to prepare four three-octave scales, an etude and a solo. She auditioned on Washington Street, in the back of the Hilbert Circle Theatre.

“The most nerve-wracking part my first year was that the audition was actually in-person, and I didn’t know the judges yet, so I was incredibly nervous,” said Hommel.

After the audition, Hommel waited to hear back from the Indianapolis Youth Orchestra. They sent her an acceptance email on the last day of July.

“They sent us an email right before August,” Hommel said. “The first time I auditioned I wasn’t sure I had made it at all, so I was super anxious and excited to see if I got it. The second time was very different— I knew that I could get in again because I had done it before. I’m super grateful to have been accepted because it’s a super special opportunity and not everyone gets to partake.”

Once part of the Philharmonic Orchestra, Hommel attended her first rehearsal at Butler University on August 30, 2019. Walking into the rehearsal room, she felt nervous. She felt intimidated by the music, realizing that it was going to be a challenge.

“The first time I got my music, I took it into my lesson teacher and basically told her ‘I don’t even know where to start. This is impossible,’” Hommel said.

As time went on, Hommel began to feel more and more confident in her ability to play the music given to her.

“As I took lessons and the months passed with more difficult music, I began to realize how attainable it was to perform well simply because I realized my own abilities and capabilities,” Hommel said. “The music no longer scared me, I began to see it as a challenge.”

Hommel enjoys being a part of the orchestra, it challenges her both technically and artistically. She also gets to meet different musicians from around the state, all of who participate in their school’s orchestras.

“Being exposed to other teachers is beneficial itself, because you have a variety of ways of teaching,” Hommel said.

Hommel’s favorite part of being in the Indianapolis Youth Orchestra is when the orchestra officially changed their name from the New World Youth Orchestra to the Indianapolis Youth Orchestra. Hommel felt that the name change signified a unification within the program.

“My favorite experience was the second performance we did last year. The IYO had just changed their name from New World Youth Orchestras to Indianapolis Youth Orchestra, and it was very special to be a part of that. It sort of served as unification between all three of the orchestras they offer, and incorporated the home city in it. It was also amazing being able to perform on the stage of the Hilbert Circle Theatre. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced something so humbling and thrilling and nerve-wracking,” Hommel said.

After playing with the orchestra for the past year, Hommel finally found that challenge she was looking for.

“The music appeared daunting at first, but the best part has been learning that it’s not impossible, it’s right within reach. Sure I’ve been frustrated at times, but it pays off in the end without a doubt,” Hommel said.