Each season the QCSYE says “farewell” to seniors graduating from across the Quad Cities region. Many of these seniors choose to study music as performers and educators. Over the next few weeks, we are highlighting several seniors from the class of 2021 who are pursuing careers in music! 

Jonathon Hughes, graduating senior at Muscatine High School, joined the Youth Symphony Orchestra for the 2020-2021 season. Even as a first-year member, Jonathon took a leadership role in the ensemble as principal horn for most of the season. His dedicated attitude and friendly demeanor helped unify the wind section. 

Jonathon is planning to attend the University of Northern Iowa this fall to study music performance. We asked Jonathon about his musical inspirations as well.  

What inspired you to begin band in 5th grade?
My brother inspired me to join band and orchestra. As the younger brother, I always looked up to him in a way and wanted to try what he did.   

Who are your primary musical influences?
My biggest musical influence is my lesson teacher Katey Halbert. She has always supported me and is one of the best horn players I’ve ever heard. 

Why do you want to be a professional musician?
I want to be a professional musician because it’s what I enjoy the most. When you’re still in school and people ask you what your dream job is, that’s what it is for me.   

What are some of the challenges that musicians will face in the next five years?
In the next five years, musicians might face a couple of challenges such as trying not to spread germs and whatnot because of the pandemic. Another issue might be finding jobs.    

What are you hoping the future of music looks like for you?
I hope my future finds me playing in a professional symphony and teaching lessons and helping with youth symphonies. 


About the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles

The Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles (QCSYE) program consists of five performance groups (four youth orchestras and a youth choir) for students in grades two through twelve. Under the direction of the outstanding QCSYE conducting staff, members have the opportunity to perform great orchestral and choral repertoire with the most talented young musicians in the area and learn from the mentorship of professional musicians from throughout the region. Ensemble members come from the greater Quad Cities, as well as other communities in southeast Iowa and northwest Illinois.

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Article by
Chelsea Schwarzkopf
QCSYE General Manager

Funding for the QCSO website provided by the Scott County Regional Authority