Jessica Schmidt photoSeptember 10, 2015 (Jackson, Miss.) - In only her sophomore year, Jessica Schmidt is excelling as a violin major and making waves in the music world.

In February, Schmidt won a scholarship from the National Federation of Music Clubs. Then in May, she won the national audition for a core position with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and is now a full time member of the symphony.

Over the summer, Schmidt was the only violinist to advance to the final round of the Masterworks Festival Concerto Competition in Indiana. There were over 50 select musicians from around the world competing for top honors, but only seven, including Schmidt, made it to the final competition and concert. She was also awarded the Exemplary String Music Award this year, presented by the Belhaven Music Department.

“I have enjoyed working with Jessica,” said Professor of Music Song Xie. "She is an exemplary student who is eager to learn and grow as a musician and person. Jessica has a passion, love, commitment and discipline towards her violin practicing and performing, and she has a sensitivity toward understanding, feeling and expressing music.”

As a transfer from Eastern University, she came to Belhaven well prepared and ready to take her learning to another level. “I've really enjoyedthe challenge Mr. Song brings to hisstudents through the music department. I have felt very motivated, sharpened and pushed beyond belief this year, which is only the beginning.”

Schmidt actively participates in competitions throughout the school year. Many competitions requiresix different pieces, at minimum. “Doing thesecompetitions throughout the school year is a fabulousway to get a realistictaste of what it will be like toprepare for graduate school auditions, since those require more contrasting repertoires,” adds Schmidt.

Dr. Steven Sachs, Chair of the Music Department, adds, “The Lord has blessed her richly and she is applying due diligence in a pursuit of excellence that gives glory and honor to the Lord and may well lead to a brilliant life long career as a violinist.”