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Craft Academy students make all-state ensembles

Duncan McGinnis
Two juniors from the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics at Morehead State have been accepted into all-state musical ensembles.

Jane Zhang from Madison County will be the ninth chair flautist in the All-State Symphonic Band. Duncan McGinnis from Greenup will be the 11th chair violist for the All-State Symphony. Both students had to audition for their respective ensembles, which was done virtually this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Although restrictions will continue to have an impact this year, both McGinnis and Zhang say they’re excited for the opportunity to collaborate with other high school musicians from across the Commonwealth.  

“We haven’t received much detail on how the orchestra will work online,” McGinnis said. “I’m hoping they will go with some master classes, where a professor teaches new technique and leads rehearsals with only one type of instrument. They may also simply have us record out parts to the pieces we’re playing and send them in to be edited together. Either way, I hope to interact with new musicians from all over the state.”

“The performance will be outstanding, and I can’t wait to showcase our perseverance through this pandemic,” Zhang said.

Jane ZhangZhang has been playing the flute for more than five years and auditioned for the all-state band since she was a freshman. She said she’s thrilled to have finally been accepted.

“The symphonic band is the highest band, which places me in the top 15 high school flautists in the entire state of Kentucky,” she said. “I am extremely anxious as well as excited to be accepted into this talented and wonderful ensemble. I wanted to be involved in All-State Band because it is a wonderful opportunity for the blooming of new friendships. This performance is made up of the best band students of Kentucky a well as the best and most talented band directors, which is also why it is such a wonderful learning experience and opportunity to develop musical skills.”  

McGinnis has been playing the viola since he was in fourth grade and began taking private lessons a year and a half ago. This will be his second year as a member of the ensemble, and although COVID has changed how the group will perform, he still looks forward to performing with other skilled musicians.

“There’s just something incredible about being in an ensemble where everyone is cooperative, skilled, and wants to be there,” McGinnis said. I’m not sure what exactly this year’s will be like, since we have to do it online, but I think it will still be a great experience. I feel amazing to be accepted this year again, especially since I made it into symphony this year.”

The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics is a dual-credit residential high school for academically exceptional Kentucky students. The Craft Academy's purpose is to meet the unique educational needs of academically gifted and talented high school juniors and seniors in the Commonwealth. The academic rigor of the Craft Academy challenges students to excel at their highest level through project-based STEM+X courses and hands-on learning experiences, with emphasis on innovation, design and creativity, and civic and regional engagement.

For more information about the Craft Academy at MSU, visit, email or call 606-783-2093.