Leaving orchestra with a legacy


Harpist Paulina Delgadillo is in her final year of high school after being a part of the Heritage orchestra since seventh grade.

Senior Paulina Delgadillo has been a Heritage High School Orchestra student for six years.

Before you ask, no, she wasn’t held back. Delgadillo started playing in Heritage’s orchestra when she was in only seventh grade.

“That was really cool because I was just in seventh grade and it was just so weird because my harp teacher came up to me and she was like ‘so the high school band wants you to play with them’ and I was like ‘I’m gonna be playing with high schoolers? That is so cool,’” said Delgadillo. “It was just a really fun experience, getting to play with older kids and playing more advanced music than I was used to. It was just a really, really cool experience.”

Throughout her journey, hard work and dedication have become almost second nature.

“She made the All-State Orchestra as a freshman and she’s just gotten better and better as the years have gone on,” Heritage Orchestra Director Elizabeth Balkema said. “She’s more dedicated. She practices all the time at home and you can just see that this craft; this skill that she has is really important [ to ] her and she works hard at it.”

Not only does Delgadillo play with the Symphony Orchestra, the top orchestra here at Heritage, she also works with her private lesson teacher, Ms. Young Park.

“She spends the bulk of her time working with the harp teacher here at school,” Balkema said. “She usually joins the orchestra after she’s learned her part. So at the very, very, end, when we’re getting ready for a contest or a concert, Paulina comes in and she works with the orchestra.”

While working with Ms. Park, Delgadillo has mastered not only the harp, but also skills like patience and musical maturity.

“There were times when I would make her play two measures of music over and over for an hour until it was perfect, but as years passed, she developed unfaltering patience,” Ms. Park said. “She has developed the ability to remain incredibly calm under pressure, which is why she has had so much success at All-State competitions.”

Her dedication and love for music has never gone unnoticed and has left a mark on many.

“She inspires me to just want to do better, to push myself and to just see how far I can go,” Balkema said.

“Paulina inspires me in that she is hardworking not only when it comes to practicing harp, but really in anything that she does,” Park said. “She will succeed in all that she does, and I will miss her sweet character.”

While Delgadillo may be leaving Heritage this school year, her journey is still far from over.

“I’m hoping to go to college and double major in music performance, obviously for harp and then in engineering,” she said. “I’m currently looking at the Cleveland Institute of Music, which would have to double major with Case Western Reserve University, which is in Ohio; and then also, Rice University and Yale.”