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Cello to take Bemidji High School graduate to University of Michigan

Bemidji High School senior Eric Haugen will participate in the Bemidji High School graduation ceremony Saturday morning at the Sanford Center. His love of the cello will take him to University of Michigan this fall. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Having spent four years at Bemidji High School, Eric Haugen is somewhat sad to graduate.

"I really like BHS," said Haugen.

Haugen, 18, will graduate Saturday in the 10 a.m. ceremony at the Stanford Center. Haugen spent his elementary years at Schoolcraft Learning Community and chose BHS as a high school to "open up" to people.

"The transition from Schoolcraft to Bemidji High school was necessary," he said. "BHS has helped me branch out in so many different ways, and I loved the wide variety of classes."

Haugen excelled during his high school career. He has been part of the BHS soccer team for four years, track team for one year and was named president of the Bemidji High School Choir. Having played cello for 15 years, he will pursue his master's in music performance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor this fall.

"The University of Michigan is a good school. It's very research focused," said Haugen, "I chose to go there because of the Professor of Music Richard Aaron. I also like the campus."

Haugen spends two hours a day practicing cello, and has been a part of the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra for seven years, directed by Beverly Everett. Eric is third chair cellist, under renowned cellists Patrick Riley, and Sonja Connell.

"Eric is an accomplished cello soloist, even at his young age." Everett said.

"Sonja has been giving me private lessons for years." Haugen said. "I have learned a lot just by playing with both of them."

In addition to his involvement with Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, Haugen also plays guitar and piano. "Aardvark," the band Eric plays in with bassist Carl Graefe and drummer Caige Jambor, will perform at the June 7 Youth Rally at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Now taking cello lessons once every other week in St. Paul, Haugen said he is excited to expand his experience and skill at University of Michigan.

"Richard Aaron is an excellent teacher," said Haugen.

He said he wants to use his master's in music to teach at a university or become a professional cellist.

"Many music professors have previously played in professional groups before they began teaching," Haugen said. "I would like to be able to do that as well."