Minot musician makes ND history

Kari Jenks to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall

Submitted photo Kari Jenks, a Minot oboist, has earned the historical honor of becoming North Dakota’s first musician to perform at Carnegie Hall, as a member of the NYO2 program.

Kari Jenks, a celebrated Minot oboist, has earned the historical honor of becoming North Dakota’s first musician to perform at Carnegie Hall, as a member of NYO2.

Described as an outstanding young American instrumentalist by NYO2, Jenks fondly recalls her experience as she received the life changing news.

“I had just walked out of mock AP band for AP English, when I got a text from my mom,” Jenks said. “I was like no way, this can’t be. I didn’t expect to get in by any means. So, I was just super excited and couldn’t believe it. I never thought I would be going to Philadelphia and New York this summer.”

Jenks, a 16-year-old junior at Minot High School Magic City Campus, continues to garner praise for her outstanding musicianship and revolutionary approach to performing.

Featuring a signature vibrato in which she credits her mentor Kari Files for developing, Jenks is earning a reputation as a must-see performer who sways with melodies while playing with stellar proficiency.

Ellen Fenner, the executive director of the Minot Symphony Orchestra, expressed tremendous excitement for the Minot area oboist.

“The feeling is exhilarating,” Fenner said. “I’m really excited for Kari to have this kind of opportunity. This is something that most kids dream of and for Kari, this is becoming a reality.”

During her solo performance with Minot Symphony Orchestra in February, maestro Efrain Amaya of the MSO, recognized the brilliant stage presence and outstanding potential displayed by Jenks.

According to Fenner, the MSO maestro said “the first step is performing with the Minot Symphony Orchestra and the next step is performing at Carnegie Hall.”

Three months later, Amaya’s prophecy came to fruition and the Minot High School junior remains humble for the unique opportunity bestowed to her.

“This opportunity is pretty cool,” Jenks said. “There are so many talented musicians in North Dakota and I think we just need to get the word out about NYO and NYO2, so more North Dakotans can get the opportunity to audition and be in it.”

NYO2 is a music initiative created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.

Musicians between the ages of 14-17, from underserved communities in the classical orchestra field are selected across the U.S. to study with peers and learn from members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

This summer, Jenks, a member of NYO2, will have the opportunity to make her Carnegie Hall debut as she performs with Grammy Award winning artist Esperanza Spalding along with Grammy Award winning conductor Giancarlo Guerrero.

For Jenks, her intense passion for practice and powerful love of performance helps her to overcome obstacles to achieve music stardom.

“You shouldn’t allow anything to get in your way,” Jenks said. “I try not to make excuses when I’m practicing. Last September, I had braces put on and I was really worried about how that could impact my practices. I didn’t want to lose several hours of practice. So far, having braces hasn’t gotten in my way because my goal was to never miss practice. I haven’t missed a day of practice this year and when my braces hurt, I just push through it. No excuses.”