Hitting all the right notes

Kari Jenks to perform solo during the Minot Symphony Orchestra’s production of “The Troublemakers”

Kari Jenks

At 16 years of age, Kari Jenks is hitting all the right notes while inspiring both peers and young children to explore the timeless world of classical music.

Saturday, Feb. 18, Jenks, a junior at Minot High School, will give a solo performance as she shares the stage with the Minot Symphony Orchestra for their upcoming showcase titled “The Troublemakers.”

Ellen Fenner, executive director of MSO, is thrilled to feature the oboe virtuoso.

“Audiences are going to be shocked,” Fenner said. “Kari is going to show them that the oboe is alive and thriving. I believe Kari is going to put on a great show.”

Known for her distinct sound and swaying dance moves, Jenks is revolutionizing the perception and parts performed by the woodwind instrument.

Possessing a bold and expressive delivery, Jenks credits her mentor, Kari Files, for helping to hone her signature vibrato and fresh approach to performing the oboe.

“There’s a lot of stereotypes about the oboe,” Jenks said. “It’s known as a very nasally and light sounding instrument. When I play, my goal is to break those stereotypes down and show audiences that the oboe can produce a warm and dynamic sound.”

Described as an inspiration to youth and classical musicians, Jenks is a constant reminder that classical music is alive and well.

“It’s really cool to be a young classical musician,” Jenks said. “Classical music is so strong. When I go to honor festivals and play in orchestras with young classical musicians, it’s an amazing experience. Classical music definitely isn’t dead.

During her solo performance at “The Troublemakers,” Jenks aspires to encourage young children to follow their dreams by making positive choices.

“I definitely hope that I can inspire someone,” Jenks said. “I hope to show young musicians that they can reach a point where they’re playing in front of an orchestra with proficiency and emotion. “

Prior to this monumental performance, Jenks credits her mother and older brother for their instrumental influence.

“My mom is a pianist,” Jenks said. “She always encouraged us to play music and taught us how to play piano at a young age.”

While following in their mother’s footsteps, each protege discovered their runique path to musical bliss.

“A few years before I started the oboe, my brother Brook started to play the trombone,” Jenks said.

As her older brother excelled with the trombone, Jenks found the inspiration to establish her own sound.

“When I was in fifth grade, I really wanted to play the saxophone,” Jenks said. “I just knew that I would be a saxophone player, it’s what I wanted. So, when Mrs. Files asked if I would like to play the oboe, I was offset because I was so set on playing the saxophone. So, I took a chance and I believe I made the right decision.”

For Jenks, making the right decisions while committing maximum effort toward her goals continues to yield great opportunities.

“Kari has the ability to touch a lot of young lives,” Fenner said. “She can be a true inspiration and role model to a lot of kids.”

Brook Jenks is an accomplished trombone player and respected member of the MSO.

When the two siblings share the stage Saturday, Feb. 18, Brook anticipates a proud moment and a joyful experience.

“Nothing can make me happier than inspiring someone to do something musical,” Brook Jenks said. “It’s exciting to see Kari get an opportunity like this and I know she’s going to love inspiring someone to enjoy music.”