Annika Bennion

Annika Bennion, daughter of Dr. Brett and Daniela Bennion, 17, of Sidney, was accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music’s Young Artist Summer Program in Philadelphia this summer. For three weeks, the young violinist was immersed in a conservatory-style experience with young musicians ages 14-22 from 16 different countries. Bennion also attended the United Nations Youth Assembly in Washington, D.C., following the Curtis Institute. Here are a few things to know about Bennion’s busy summer.

1. There is an extensive application process to get into the Curtis Institute of Music, including a repertoire list of past performances, video audition, video statement, photo and private teacher information. Curtis has an acceptance rate of 4.2 percent and is considered one of the most prestigious music schools, in close competition to the well-known Julliard for the number one spot.

2. During the three-week conservatory, Bennion had choir class every morning, followed by orchestra, chamber music, trio practice with another violinist and a pianist, and music history.

3. Bennion’s next goal is to apply for the National Youth Orchestra.

4. Bennion had two roommates, one from Paris and one from Tokyo. She enjoyed the chance to get to know other young people who share her passion for classical music.

5. Following the Curtis Institute of Music, Bennion traveled to Washington, D.C., for the Youth Assembly, where she performed a ragtime tune for the culture festival. During CultureFest, delegates at the Youth Assembly share dances, songs and traditional wear from their cultures and countries. Bennion’s performance piece was written by a man from South Dakota.

6. The Youth Assembly aims to empower young people to become leaders in their communities. People age 16-28 can apply and it’s a competitive endeavor. Applicants must provide a proven track record of leadership experience, school or community involvement, and interest in global affairs, sustainable development and youth issues. To apply, Bennion submitted an essay on education, health and gender equality.

7. Bennion has been volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club for approximately three years, where she began a literacy program for first and second graders to get them excited about reading.

8. Bennion finished high school early, but takes dual credits so she can remain eligible for youth programs like she attended this summer. Currently she is enrolled in college courses and will be taking 12 credits this fall. By winter break, she will be considered a junior in college.

9. In addition to her other accomplishments this summer, Bennion also attended a debate camp at University of Texas in Houston and competed in the National Fiddlers Contest in Weezer, Idaho.

“I feel like this has been three years of a summer,” Bennion said.

Her mother was proud of her oldest daughter, who sets a high bar for her two competitive younger siblings.

“Every time she comes home even more grown up and appreciative,” Daniela said.

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