Bass player ranked top high school female player in state


Talent doesn’t just grow on trees, but after hours of hard work and dedication, junior Annabelle Mills’ talent is a lot more than that of your average bass player.

After a concert performed by orchestra teacher Donald Walter’s sixth grade orchestra students at her elementary school, Mills was instantly intrigued.

“I came home that day and told my parents my news,” said Mills. “My mom waited until about a week before (the start of) my sixth grade year and called Walter to let him know I wanted to play (the bass).”

Walters was accepting, and thus started Mills journey. Instantly she took a liking to the instrument and developed impressive skills. Mills was first chair, the highest-ranking player in an ensemble, double bass while in middle school for the Western regionals. After middle school, she felt the best option was to continue with the orchestra in high school under the guidance of Walter, who also instructs the high school orchestra.

Mills’ proficiency has enabled her to take part in many opportunities.

Halfway through her freshman year, Mills joined the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra, which is comprised of various selective ensembles that require auditions. Mills played for over a year but has stopped since due to its large time consumption.

She also placed as the first chair in Guilford County’s All-County Ensemble for both her freshman and sophomore year. Mills also placed as the sixth chair her freshman year and second chair her sophomore year in the Honors Western Regionals. Her participation in the regionals allowed her to participate in the All State Orchestra convention in her sophomore year.

Mills placed as second chair bass in the All State performance, which makes Mills the current top high school female bass player in the state of North Carolina. Mills will be participating in All State again this school year.

“My best memory from (orchestra) is definitely last year’s All State,” Mills said. “It was such an amazing opportunity and the sound of the orchestra (during) our concert was something I cannot put into words.”

Currently, Mills is unsure if she wants to pursue a career in music. She sees herself pursuing more than just playing with a professional orchestra. She isn’t taking the option off the table but wants to experience other options before setting her mind on only pursuing music.

However, her instrument and experiences in the orchestra have meant a lot.

“My instrument is like my baby,” Mills said. “When I play, when I practice it gives me a sense of freedom and absolute control. It’s a part of who I am, it’s part of my identity.”