Student Art Spotlight: A Noteworthy Musician


photo courtesy of Stephen Houseworth Photography

Senior Samantha Locraft is learning how to play the E-flat Clarinet, piano and flute in addition to her skills with the clarinet and saxophone.

By Sarah O'Brien, Production Editor

Senior Samantha Locraft knows the keys to success and has been fine tuning her skills on the clarinet for the past nine years.

Locraft currently plays in the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra (MCYO) Philharmonic, Young Artists of America (YAA) Orchestra and the CHS pit band. Clarinet is Locraft’s first instrument, and she started playing it because of pop culture.

According to Locraft, in fourth grade she felt influenced by childhood television shows to choose between playing the saxophone like Lisa Simpson or the clarinet like Squidward from Spongebob. She decided to focus her studies on the clarinet but picked up the saxophone later.

Locraft has twice received the Musical Artist Achievement Award, which is given once a year to 10 students enrolled in the CHS music department. She is in the Tri-M music honor society, an international music honor society that recognizes students for their achievements academically and musically. Locraft is also in the Arts Academy signature program.

“Samantha’s thirst for excellence in her musical performances is clearly evident in every note she plays and carries over to many other aspects of her life, including but not limited to her academic excellence,” Instrumental Music teacher Kristofer Sanz said.

Locraft was inspired by opera singer Luciano Pavarotti because she wants to impact and captivate people the way he is able to.

“In everything he sings, even when he sings about pain or anguish, the music is totally beautiful,” Locraft said. Her siblings admire and respect her enthusiasm for music and support her through her high school musical experience.

“She’s very passionate and dedicated to music,” Locraft’s sister, junior Hannah said. “She’s an awesome big sister. She’s really caring and funny.”

Locraft has performed in places like the Strathmore Concert Hall, the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, the Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium and the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club.

“I like how the clarinet can express such a wide range of sounds, feelings and ideas,” Locraft said. “One minute it is used to make silly or playful music and the next it can play the most heart shattering, stagnant and lonely-sounding melody.”

Locraft has learned how to play the E-flat clarinet, a clarinet that is smaller in size and higher in pitch than the normal clarinet. She started learning how to play saxophone in seventh grade and is currently trying to learn flute and piano as well.

Locraft plans on continuing playing and performing with the clarinet, as well as majoring in music performance in college.

“Achieving such high acclaim as a musician requires a student who is creative, self-disciplined, self-motivated, hard-working, mature and talented,” Sanz said. “Each of these attributes are clearly visible in Samantha and are necessary for a musician to make it through the hours of practice, numerous auditions and performances and the occasional disappointment of not performing up to one’s expectations while still balancing a rigorous and successful academic career.”