Twin Falls student Samantha Wallace is an oboe star.


When We Met

I met Samantha Wallace at her home in Twin Falls the day before Thanksgiving. Her mother was in the kitchen preparing tomorrow’s dinner, and the song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” wafted from a speaker in the wall.

Wallace, a junior at Xavier Charter School, was selected as a 2013 member of the American High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. She will travel to New York City in February to rehearse and play under the direction of renowned music conductors and alongside high school musicians from across the United States. Wallace, 16, was invited to apply after she was named an all-state musician on oboe last year.

Wallace said the trip to New York will be her first. In addition to seeing a Broadway play and sightseeing, she plans to visit colleges on the East Coast.

“I’m definitely excited,” Wallace said. “I haven’t gotten the music yet, but I probably will soon.”

Wallace has been playing the oboe since the sixth grade. She said she kind of randomly picked the oboe from all the instruments available.

“It was definitely unique,” Wallace said. She said she is the only oboe player in her school.

For the first couple of years she took private lessons — and they paid off.

Wallace went into her room and came back with her oboe case. As she assembled the pieces, she moistened the reed in her mouth.

“The oboe reed is a double reed,” Wallace said.

The oboe resembles a clarinet except for the reed, which is long and slim and goes directly into the top of the mouthpiece.

Unlike the clarinet’s reed, which can be moistened in the mouth, the oboe’s reed needs to soak for five minutes in water. But the day I visited, Wallace held it in her mouth for few minutes before playing.

Wallace then walked over to a switch and turned down the Christmas music. Whether a CD is playing in the background or Wallace is playing in the living room, the Wallace household has always been full of music. She remembers her dad, a classically trained tenor, singing her to sleep when she was a child.

Wallace gathered her breath, and the rich, low tone of the oboe floated through the living room. Then the music picked up pace, Wallace’s fingers flew down the instrument and she paused briefly to inhale.

Get news headlines sent daily to your inbox

How You Know Her

Sometimes Wallace plays second oboe with the Magic Valley Symphony when the usual oboist has to play the English horn. She’s also involved in the College of Southern Idaho Symphonic Band and the Magic Valley Youth Symphony, and she plays oboe with the CSI choir.

What’s Next for Her

Wallace is fundraising for her trip to New York City by raffling off an iPad. Reach her at 208-350-1742 for raffle tickets.

A week after she returns from New York she will travel to Portland as a member of the All-Northwest Band, which includes choir and orchestra.

Tell Tetona Dunlap whom she should meet next for her weekly column: 735-3243 or tdunlap@magicvalley.com.


Load comments