ST. CLOUD - With the ultimate goal of playing in an orchestra as a professional, St. Cloud Christian School junior Lilia Olsen has been excelling with clarinet for years.

Lilia Olsen playing clarinet. (Dan DeBaun, WJON)

She’s been playing since the 5th grade and is now also playing in a youth symphony in the Twin Cities during the weekend. She also studies with the Minnesota Orchestra.

"It's a lot of really difficult music and it really challenges you. That's something that I want to go into, so it's really nice to get that exposure now so I know what I'm looking at [for] a career."

Lilia was selected to attend honor band and honor choir, as well All-State Orchestra her sophomore year. She typically practices music two-and-a-half hours a day and loves constantly learning new things and tries to push herself whenever she can.

"You can look at new music, new techniques. You can always be better at something and everything can be a new challenge. I think that's why I love music so much, because it challenges you and it's also super rewarding."

Lilia is also a National Honor Society member and is on the A honor roll. Music teacher Nina Aardahl says she stands out for her great attitude and her willingness to constantly practice her passion.

"She's worked so hard, practicing two-and-a-half hours regularly, that's a huge commitment for a high school student. I can't get most of my students to practice for a half-hour a day."

Lilia even finds the time to give back through music. She and the school choir often sing at community nursing homes in the spring.

"It's just a lot of fun being able to bring joy to a lot of people who don't get to see live performances. It's a lot of fun to see how happy they can become from singing."