Eight days a week is what Chatham resident Ethan Gritz, a freshman at in Morris Township, probably needs to get everything done in his typical work week.
Gritz, 14, walks around town with his squared off, swoosh-less tennis racquet bag slung on his back. What he actually carries in that anonymous black case is a violin, one he plays so well that recently he was accepted into the New Jersey State Youth Orchestra.
Gritz has been playing violin since he was 5 years old, when he played a violin one-16th the size of a full violin. Now, he is tall enough for a full-size instrument. The middle of three brothers, Gritz has a musical heritage. His father Elliott plays guitar and his mother Raissa plays the piano.
As a freshman at Delbarton, Gritz transitioned to the school from . “I had to figure out how to get everything done and also get the right amount of sleep,” he said.
Saturdays Gritz has a full day of classes, practices and performances at The Mannes School in Manhattan. His first class begins at 10 a.m. and the last class ends at 5:15 p.m. Each Sunday, Gritz travels to Pelham, NY for a one-hour lesson with violinist Rene Jolles.
Weekdays he takes classes at Delbarton and rehearses with several musical groups, including the Abbey Orchestra, (“That’s playing, not practice time," Gritz said), vocal groups Schola Cantorum and the Benedictones, plus practices with pianist Br. Michael De Saye for a special performance by the duo at the Delbarton spring concert.
Gritz also attends track practice every afternoon and somehow manages to complete his homework, thanks to superb time management skills. He likes his English and History classes—he very much enjoyed "The Odyssey and "Great Expectations" this year—and is a solid student across the board.
Add to that the time he spends practicing the violin, between 90 minutes and two hours each day. Gritz practices for his next lesson and for his Saturdays at Mannes, where he studies music theory and performs orchestral and chamber music.
With summer around the corner, some students will take time to relax and rejuvenate. Not Gritz. He plans to attend Greenwood Music Camp in the Berkshires, which trains classical musicians. More practice, more playing.
Gritz is also thinking even further ahead. His sights are set on Juilliard's pre-college program and hopes he could possibly attend Juilliard for college, though he is keeping an open mind.
At least one person is happy to hear that. Dr. Robert P. George, a Princeton University professor, spoke at Delbarton in January. Impressed by a comment Gritz made during a Q&A session, George told him in front of Gritz's fellow students, "In three years, when you are in an admissions interview at Princeton, tell the interviewer that Dr. George said to admit you."
Currently Gritz’s career goal is to perform as a violinist with a world-renowned orchestra, such as the New York Philharmonic.
Gritz recently traveled to Washington, DC with Delbarton’s Model UN Club. He did not bring his violin. The instrument needed a rest, but Ethan was just fine, thank you.
Editor's note: This story was written by Jessica Fiddes.
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