Playing music is one thing. Experiencing it fully is altogether another deal for a musician such as Clayton Stine.

“It’s a lot easier to feel everything with a whole orchestra behind you,” said Stine, an alto sax player.

Then he’ll be feeling firsthand the ebb and flow of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra concert at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at The Commons, 300 Washington St.

Stine, 18, is the mostly volunteer ensemble’s featured soloist for the performance. The symphony recently selected him as winner of its inaugural Youth Concerto Competition, meant to nurture budding area musicians.

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“It’s just crazy the change between normally being accompanied by only piano and now being accompanied by a full orchestra,” Stine said. “Everything just really comes alive. It’s really awesome.”

Stine, a Columbus North High School senior and Sound of North marching band member, recently won the instrumental portion of the Brown Music Scholarship competition. Sunday, he will play the first movement of Jacques Ibert’s “Concertino Da Camera.” He performed the five-minute piece at last year’s Indiana State School Music Association competition and earned a gold rating, the judges’ highest mark.

“That piece just speaks to me,” he said.

The orchestra’s second-place youth concerto award winner, violinist Kathryn Tuttle, 17, a home-schooled member of the ensemble and already was scheduled to be a regular part of the concert. Her other associations include being a member of the local Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Stine, who seemed unflappable at the Brown competition in front of influential college music school judges, waved away the idea of nerves this weekend.

“For me, it’s really more excitement than nerves at this point, especially because of playing with the full orchestra,” he said.

Columbus Symphony music director Josh Aerie mentioned that he wanted to encourage young musicians when he assumed the orchestra’s top post before last season. Stine impressed the maestro on several levels.

“In his audition, he showed a maturity, musicality and interpretation far beyond his years, ” Aerie said. “He also has a wonderful lyrical sense.

“And his phrasing and tonal beauty were remarkable to me.”

Stine began playing alto sax in fourth grade eight years ago at St. Bartholomew Catholic School. For the past three years, Butler University associate saxophone instructor Heidi Radtke has taught Stine weekly. The student, who will finish 12th academically in his senior class, plans to double major in jazz performance and computer science at either Butler or Indiana University.

Until then, though, he’s working to complete a senior project that has included his jazz combo’s visits to area nursing homes as he and his friends perform classic jazz and big band numbers for the residents.

“We’re playing their generation of music,” he said.

And doing it with his generation of zeal.

If you go

What: The Columbus Symphony Orchestra performing with alto sax player and guest artist Clayton Stine, the orchestra’s inaugural Youth Concerto Competition winner. The Andrews Strings Studio musicians also will perform. The concert is titled “Hometown Talent.”

When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Concert is expected to last 90 minutes.

Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St., Columbus.

Tickets: $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Children younger than 12 are admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets available at the door or at


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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.