The Ebersohls hit all the right notes


Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Courtney Ebersohl

The Ebersohl sisters perform at a recital.

From the time they could whistle and play their first notes, junior Courtney Ebersohl and sister Sydney Ebersohl, a freshman, have been sharing their love of music and their talents with Flint Hill and other local orchestra groups.

Discussing music’s powerful ability to drive one’s character and contribute to a diverse community such as Flint Hill, Courtney Ebersohl said, “Any kind of instrument teaches self-discipline, individuality, creativity, and teaches you to practice on your own.”

Before age eight, the Ebersohls had worked with instructor June Huang in order to carefully craft their musical abilities. The sisters are active violinists who have both participated in the McLean Youth Orchestra for several years. Sydney Ebersohl currently serves as the ensemble’s concert master and first chair violinist.

The freshman violinist said, “Orchestra is set apart [from] other bands and ensembles by the fact that the sound is different and more ‘organic’ with wood instruments.”

As accomplished members of the Flint Hill Orchestra, Sydney Ebersohl received the Master Musician Award in eighth grade. Her older sister’s hard work was capped with the Flint Hill Instrumental Book Award, which Courtney Ebersohl earned as a sophomore.

The Ebersohls’ achievements extend to several appearances in District Orchestra, spanning three years for Sydney Ebersohl and two for Courtney Ebersohl. Their most recent district performance occurred last month at Marshall High School.

On January 29, the Flint Hill Upper School orchestra held its annual concert, combining with band ensembles for an eventful evening.  The sister team lead the first and second violinists respectively, and Courtney Ebersohl performed a solo in “Meditation from Thais.”

The junior said, “It’s a great experience to be [able to perform] with your peers and to see their creativity.”

Younger sister Sydney Ebersohl echoed much of the same sentiment, citing music’s ability to connect with others, saying, “It allows you to express yourself without words.”

Connecting with others is precisely one of the main purposes of group quartets at the sisters’ studio, where they collaborate and learn with their instructor and other students. These groupings consist of other violinists also taught by the same instructor, allowing students to come together with other musicians to produce music alongside one another. Performing in church recitals four times a year, as well as in various other events ranging from school performances to weddings, the two appreciate the meaningful and emotional side of music.

Courtney Ebersohl said, “Music is really an expression of the human condition. I really feel that music has made me a more dedicated and determined person than if I had not been exposed to it.”

Her younger sister concurred saying, “I like sharing music with other people. It makes them happy since some of them used to play instruments too.”

However, the sisters’ musical prowess extends far beyond violin. Sydney Ebersohl also plays piano and banjo, while Courtney Ebersohl is a member of the Flint Hill a cappella group, the Major Minors, as well as the Upper School choir.

Upper and Middle School choral director Sarah Pramstaller spoke highly of Courtney’s talents and expertise, saying, “Courtney is an awesome musician. Not only is she an extraordinarily talented violinist, she has a beautiful singing voice as well. I have my fingers crossed that she will also be chosen for All State Honors Choir.  Courtney indeed has a great deal of natural ability, but her tremendous work ethic is truly what allows her to maximize her potential.”

For the sisters, their devotion to music stems from more than individual accomplishments. Rather, the two share their excitement for music through charity events with recorder and classical clarinet player Nina Stern. Through this, the Ebersohls collect recorders for schools in Kenya in order to instruct students and teachers alike how to read music and play basic melodies.

For Courtney Ebersohl, who names violin as her foremost passion, music is an extension of one’s personality and is a means of inspiration and motivation.

She said, “I believe music is a human experience everyone should be able to have in their life.”

As far as pursuing a profession in the field of music, the two are a bit ambiguous as to their future plans, and seem to be weighing their options career-wise.

Still fascinated by the workings of violin and music in general, Courtney Ebersohl said, “I’m not really sure [about a career in violin]– maybe music production, but its still hard to get in to.”

Realizing the difficulty and uncertainty of being successful in the music industry, Sydney Ebersohl said, “I don’t know [about pursuing a music career]. I do want to have an opportunity [to keep playing] and travel to other countries to perform.”

Though the idea of following music in the long-term may seem far off in the future, for now, performing remains their number one passion.