Edmond Henning, 15, was in China when he was first invited to submit an audition tape for the 2014 Carnegie Hall Honors Orchestra.
He was touring with Iowa City’s Preucil School of Music Orchestra, which takes an international trip every four years. When he got home, his entry was due five days later. That was too short a deadline to put together an audition package he felt confident in, so he declined.
Later that fall, the Honors Orchestra again asked him to apply.
For those who know Henning, the idea he would be pursued for his talent doesn’t come as a surprise.
“He’s sincere in going all the way with each activity that he does,” his viola teacher William Preucil said. “Whatever he does, he does with integrity all the way.”
Henning, who lives south of Chelsea in Tama County, is dual enrolled as a homeschooler and at HLV Community School in Victor. In addition to music he balances football, wrestling and track, as well as Boy Scouts and 4-H. Keeping all those activities straight isn’t hard, he said, as long as he keeps himself disciplined and manages his time.
“If you’re going into something, you might as well put the time in and further yourself,” he said. “You’ll get rewards later.”
Rewards like the chance to play at Carnegie Hall Feb. 9. The Honors Performance Series brings together some of the best high school musicians from around the country. Students are nominated by their music teachers and submit audition tapes.
“It’s rewarding, because I put a lot of effort into music in general, and it’s starting to pay out,” he said.
He started playing the violin when he was four-years-old and picked up the viola about four years ago.
“It’s a fun instrument that doesn’t get enough face time,” he said.
He said he enjoys that his studies let him more greatly appreciate the music he listens to. And he listens to a wide range of music, everything from rap to rock to classical to country.
Besides the viola, he plays piano, bagpipes, mandolin, a Civil War snare drum, guitar, bass guitar and fife. Many of those don’t involve formal lessons, just practice and a love of what he does.
“Music is a really nice way to express yourself,” he said.
After playing at Carnegie Hall, Henning said he’s not sure what he can musically aspire to next. Despite his talents, he’s not sure he’ll pursue music after high school – he’s also interested in agriculture.
But then, he’s just a sophomore, so he has plenty of time to make up his mind.