Let me introduce you to Braden Riley. I want you to remember this young man's name because I promise you will hear it again, and when you do, I want you to remember that you heard it about him right here. Here's what you need to know about Braden, he is a violin player, and he's already better at that than you've ever been at anything in your life. Now, HE would never say that, because he's much too humble, but I'm saying that for him - and after hearing him play for about 30 seconds, you will agree with me.

On Sunday, May 23rd, Braden was named the winner of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra's 65th Annual Young Artist Competition. This recognition caps off what has been a pretty amazing year for the soon-to-be-freshman at Reitz High School. In April, Braden became part of the Indiana all-state middle school orchestra - in fact, he was named their concertmaster.

What is a Concertmaster?

I can't just say "Braden was named the concertmaster" without explaining what that actually means. The Berklee College of Music defines the concertmaster as someone who is "Simultaneously the most skilled and knowledgeable violinist of the orchestra while also the chief intermediary between the musicians and the conductor." To put it plainly, the concertmaster is the most talented instrumentalist in the orchestra and is the conductor's right-hand man - and is one bad donkey.

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You don't have to take my word for it, and you don't have to take the EPO's word for it either - the music speaks for itself.

In addition to being a straight boss on the violin, Braden is also a very talented baseball player - full disclosure, I had the pleasure of coaching him this year on the Reitz cub team - and more/most importantly, Braden is an awesome young man. Congrats to ya' B-Riles!

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