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NHS Senior Kaitlyn Ruiter Nominated for Grammy Award

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While some of the most accomplished and successful musicians of our time dream of being nominated for a Grammy Award, Northport High School senior Kaitlyn Ruiter has already checked that box on her resume. As a bassist in the 2020-2021 New York Youth Symphony, Kaitlyn was a member of the group which recorded the album “Works by Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery, Valerie Coleman” which is nominated for Best Orchestral Performance at the 2023 Grammy awards.  

Traditionally, the New York Youth Symphony practices every weekend over several months for a final performance at Carnegie Hall. Due to the pandemic, students were not able to hold the performance and needed to be split into two groups of  approximately 50 students each. Conductor Michael Repper decided that in lieu of the prestigious performance, the groups would instead record an album. That album has garnered the attention of the prestigious Recording Academy, leading to the nomination.  

After rehearsing for three to four hours nearly every Sunday for the 2020-2021 school year, the season concluded with Kaitlyn and her peers performing in a professional recording studio for many hours over several days to create the album. While the original plan was to digitally mix the two separate groups of performers, the conductor ultimately decided to have each group perform half the album. Kaitlyn was the bassist in the group which performed the songs “Ethiopia’s Shadow in America” and “Umoga”. The album included four separate works from three African American female composers Florence Price, Valerie Coleman, and Jessie Montgomery and was released in April 2022. Other nominees in the same category include John Williams, conducting the Berlin Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. 

Kaitlyn shared how the album was in consideration in four separate categories and she was shocked at the official news of the nomination. “When we first started recording, [conductor Michael Repper] said maybe one day we would be nominated for a Grammy and the idea seemed so farfetched” she said.  When Northport High School Director of Orchestras Michael Sussino gave Kaitlyn the news of the nomination, she felt honored. “I’m honestly just excited that we’re even nominated. We’re against John Williams and the Berlin Philharmonic, which is insane, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Dudamel. Even just being nominated and seen alongside these huge names is something I never thought I would experience,” she said.  

Kaitlyn has been playing the bass since age nine and began her orchestra career at East Northport Middle School. She expressed gratitude for her teachers and the district music program for supporting her and is also an accomplished pianist in addition to bass player. She is currently enrolled in the Juilliard Pre-College Program and intends to major in string bass after graduation.  

The Grammy’s are taking place Sunday, February 5 at the Los Angeles Arena.