1 in 300: Williams tunes into passion



Williams plays cello for the New Jersey State Youth Orchestra.

Will McHale

Junior Madeline Williams of Wall began playing the cello when she was just nine years old. Although it may be an unusual choice for a fourth grade pastime, she was inspired by her mother.

“My mom played the cello, so she really wanted me to play it too,” Williams said. However, she quickly developed an independent interest in the instrument. 

I figured out pretty quickly after I started playing how much I loved making music and performing.” 

Williams has practiced with and played for various orchestras, many of which required an audition. Williams was a member of the All Shore Orchestra, a prestigious ensemble for middle and high school students, for three years. She then joined the New Jersey State Youth Orchestra and its chamber group, with whom she has played for five years. She and the rest of the ensemble played in the International Crescendo Competition in December of 2019 and won first place for the groups category. 

“We played at Carnegie Hall recently and we came in first…there were a lot of other groups that were super talented, so we were lucky to win!” she said. 

Williams also received recognition for her musical talent when she was named the principal chair of her orchestra in eighth grade and became the person in charge of leading her section. While she held this coveted role as a mere middle schooler, many musicians never reach such a high standing. 

“[Becoming the principal chair] was really cool for me since it was my first time… being recognized.”

Despite the success she has found, Williams does not see herself pursuing a career in music. She plans on playing in an orchestra simply as a hobby at whatever school she ends up attending. While music is not the primary focus of her future, she has a bright one ahead with the cello remaining part of her life in the years to come. 

“I definitely want to play in college,” she said. “I do not intend to major in music, but it is definitely a hobby that I really enjoy and want to continue doing.”