Saturday 21 September 2019
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Sakura Muhammad: Telling a Story through Strings

Story by Katrice Williams • Photos by Sheila Scott
Famous and prolific European composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once said that “music is not in the notes,
but in the silence between.” Indeed, silence itself may often speak volumes. However, Sakura Muhammad has
long been talented in giving life to every note that flows from his bow and strings to produce beautiful
Sakura is a New Hampstead High School senior. He has played the violin since 5th grade.
“I just liked the way the violin sounded…the way it looked. It looks beautiful when people are playing it, and
it sounds beautiful as well. I got a lot of inspiration from watching other people play,” Sakura stated.
Actually, music has been a significant part of his family for some time. In fact, one of his most notable
mentors is his Aunt Charmel Dozier who has been a musical aficionado for many years.
“She played the viola, and I listened to her when I was little. Whenever I would go to my grandparents’
house, her old viola would always be displayed in the room; she would play for us, and it was always so
beautiful and very inspiring,” he remembered. In addition, his Grandmother Brenda Dozier is remarkably gifted
on both the flute and the piano.
“She plays the piano continuously. She is probably the most musical person in my family,” he added.
Sakura’s brother Askia, 22, composes and plays the piano, while his brother Kashta, 20, plays the guitar. Also,
his little sister Neeali, 15, is a skilled oboe player.
Sakura has taken weekly private violin lessons for six years from Jeanne Mundy at Portman’s Music
Superstore in Savannah.
“With her expertise and diligence, it is incredible what I’ve been able to do under her watch,” he said.
Sakura also has weekly orchestra rehearsals with the Armstrong Orchestra at Georgia Southern University in
Savannah under the direction of Lorraine Jones. “She definitely helped me understand how professional I need
to be. She cares about the music and makes sure we’re doing everything right,” he mentioned.
The driven and ambitious musician also practices for about two hours at home each day in his spare time.
After being completely homeschooled, Sakura spent the first three years of his high school career at Savannah
Arts Academy (SAA) prior to beginning his senior year at New Hampstead. While at SAA, he was privileged to
play under the direction of Emily Calhoun. He has always valued her keen musical insight
and aptitude, as she, too, was a notable and memorable role model. Mrs. Calhoun feels that Sakura is a very
gifted young man.
“Sakura is a very talented and, more importantly, hard-working student who achieves much due to his
discipline and love for music,” she stated. He is appreciative for the opportunity to play alongside other
immensely talented students at SAA, many of which have become some of his closest friends.
“I am thankful for the different music I’ve been able to hear and the different people I’ve been able to meet,”
Sakura remarked.
The talented violinist has an impressive array of accomplishments under his belt, as he is an honor student
with a 4.0 GPA. Sakura is also in the National Honor Society, Music Honor Society and French Honor Society
at his school. He has performed in the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) All State Orchestra for
the past three years and has performed phenomenally. He was recognized as the “first runner-up for a notable
Concerto Competition for the Armstrong Orchestra in February 2018.” He was also a semi-finalist for the
Governor’s Honors Program in 2017.
Sakura has a few professional mentors whose creative genius he strives to implement. He really likes to listen
to the classical violinist Hillary Hahn, and his favorite composer is Tchaikovsky.
“I like a lot of different songs that go back and forth between a minor and a major key. Tchaikovsky really
accentuates that. I really do love Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite.”
Sakura is looking forward to attending Alabama A&M University. Interestingly enough, both of his older
brothers attend the university, so he is already familiar with the college and what it has to offer. “They have a
great music program there,” he said.
Sakura plans to major in political science. He has been interested in history for some time now. But, now
more than ever, he has also developed a true interest in the field of law.
“I’m interested in history and also law…how to implement laws. I hope to encourage the country to come
together,” he said.
Though Sakura does not plan to major in music in college, he certainly plans to continue playing and
elevating his skill as a violinist. “I do plan to stay in the local orchestra,” he confirmed.
One of Sakura’s biggest short-term goals is to play a “concerto with the violin,” which is a solo violin
performance that is accompanied by an orchestra.
Sakura is very thankful for his mom and dad who have always encouraged him to follow his dreams, and he is
thankful for all their countless sacrifices.
“They have definitely helped me, always telling me I could do anything regardless of what anyone says. They
encouraged me to keep practicing all the time, even when it was at their own expense,” he asserted. He
appreciates all the qualities that his parents instilled within him, especially commitment, diligence and a great
work ethic.
Also, Sakura is preparing for the Armstrong Spring Orchestra Concert at Georgia Southern University in
Savannah, which is scheduled for Monday, April 29th, at 6:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and
enjoy the sensational melodies. It is free for all students.
When he is not mastering his skills on the violin, Sakura likes to volunteer within his community, explore
various current events, work out and play video games.
Sakura Muhammad is a very talented musician who is certainly able to tell his own beautiful story through
his strings; the future is immensely bright for this impressive young man.

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