Caroline Nieto: Musical Master in High School

KHS student Caroline Nieto shows continued musical expertise by qualifying for the highest honor ensemble for US High Schoolers.


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When KHS Choir teacher Charles Linell saw a freshman named Caroline Nieto walk into class on the first day of school, he did not expect that he would be looking at the best high school singer in New Jersey. 

“I didn’t really know of her skills at the time but she’s been doing some incredible work,” says Linell.

This year, she not only was ranked among the top of all the singers who applied for the New Jersey All-State Choir, but she was accepted into the All-National Honor Ensembles (ANHE), the most prestigious student music group in the country. She is the only KHS student to have qualified for this honor, despite not even being a senior.

The ANHE is a prestigious ensemble of high schoolers that usually meet in San Diego, Calif. It consists of six professionally run ensembles for different styles of music and instruments. It is so prestigious that to apply, one needs to participate in their state’s All-State Music Festival (student music performances, one for every state).

Linell has been watching Nieto grow over his time with her as a student. “I was a very good musician when I was growing up but the highest I ever got was coming in second in the state, so coming first is amazing,” he said.

Nieto hasn’t come out of the woodwork as a good musician recently. She’s been doing this her whole life. She said, “I started taking guitar lessons when I was six or seven, so I play guitar, I play bass, I did the flute, and I picked up the ukulele.”

As to what keeps her going in her music career, it seems to be drive and her enjoyment for performing music. Referring to what motivates her, she said,  “I think just passion for it [music], I don’t think I could have done this if I didn’t enjoy it and have passion.” 

Nieto can always be found with a positive attitude and a bright outlook. “I think I’m hoping to connect with people around the country just to see how different or similar our experiences have been doing choir and I just want to learn more about music and expand my knowledge,” she said about her future in music. You can find her starring in Kinnelon High School’s spring musical, The Little Mermaid, coming out in March.