VYChorus Senior Spotlight!

Sadie Jones, voice
South Burlington High School
Joined VYOA in 2016
VYChorus – 1 year

 What do you love most about singing? 
While it is impossible to choose one thing, I can say that I love how music unites people. It is a medium for people to express themselves, and has the capability to bring together a group of people no matter the circumstances.

Who has been your most important musical influence?
My voice teacher Sarah Cullins has been my most important musical influence throughout my career. She has inspired me with her passion for music and teaching, and has helped to create an environment where challenging yourself personally and musically is both exciting and fun.

What has been the most inspiring experience that you have had as a member of the VYChorus?
The most inspiring experience that I have had as a member of the VYC has been meeting all of the dedicated student musicians who are as passionate about music as I am. It is encouraging to be surrounded by people who are so devoted and excited about this opportunity to be a part of such an incredible organization.

Why did you choose to join the VYChorus?
I chose to join the VYC because I wanted to be exposed to music in a setting outside of school. Being a part of this chorus has helped me to meet new people and challenge myself to be the best musician I can be.

What other sports/groups/activities are you involved in?
When I’m not at VYC… I like to spend my time doing a variety of activities such as dancing on the SBHS dance team, tutoring and mentoring students at FH Tuttle Middle School, as well as participating in community theater productions such as Lyric’s Mary Poppins.

If you could perform with any musician, living or dead, who would it be & why?
If I had the chance to perform with any musician, it would be Eric Whitacre. His efforts to incorporate music and technology are truly spectacular, as well as his composition and direction skills. Even to be included in one of his virtual choirs would be incredible!

What are your plans after graduation?
While I am not yet sure of what school I will be attending or what I will be majoring in this fall, I am positive I will be pursuing a minor in music wherever I go.

 

VYChorus Senior Spotlight!

Noah Gilbert-Fuller, voice
South Burlington High School
Joined VYOA in 2016
VYChorus – 1 year

 

 

What do you love most about singing? 
I love being able to perform music that allows me to learn more about the cultures and ideas behind different genres. Performing music is enough reward for studying it.

Who or what has been your most important musical influence?
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Frank Ocean are some of my favorite songwriters, but I have a deep appreciation for any live jazz or indie music. Hearing musicians with a genuine passion for their work inspires me.

What has been the most inspiring experience that you have had as a member of the VYChorus?
Being able to work with and communicate with the students and teachers has helped me appreciate choral learning and performance immensely.

Why did you choose to join the VYChorus?
I went on a trip to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall with a group of musicians from VYOC, and Mr. Pillsbury helped teach us. We had a blast, and seeing the commitment and passion of the others convinced me to sign up. 

What other sports/groups/activities are you involved in?
I’ve participated in my schools’ theater program since I was a freshman. I’m a part of my schools’ chamber choir, and I am a member of the Boy Scouts.

If you could perform with any musician, living or dead, who would it be & why?
Probably someone like D’Angelo, or The Roots . I’d love to just vibe with a group of musicians one day.

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan on staying in Vermont, taking a few classes nearby, and pursuing music on my own, or perhaps in education.

VYO Senior Spotlight!

Katherine Yang, violin
South Burlington High School
Joined VYOA in 2011
VYO – 4 years
VYPhilharmonia – 1 year
VYSinfonia – 1 year
 

What do you love about playing your instrument?
My favorite thing about the violin is its versatility. I love being able to play a wide range of styles and it’s an especially good feeling to master a style and have it sound good.

What has been the most memorable piece that you performed with VYO?
The most memorable piece by far for me is when we played Beethoven’s 9th Symphony a few years ago. I think it was my first year in VYO and that piece had everything: a famous melody, the entire chorus behind us, and four incredible solo singers. It was just amazing being able to play such a well-known piece and it showed me what the orchestra was really capable of.

What is your earliest musical memory?
Strangely enough, my earliest musical memory does not involve a violin, or any instrument for that matter. The memory is from when I was about five years old, and I was singing “This Land is Your Land” and accompanying the very off key notes with enthusiastic hand gestures. And my parents videotaped it. Fortunately for everyone, I took up violin a few years later, which has turned out better than my singing career ever would have.

Who or what has been your most important musical influence?
My current violin teacher, Kathleen Kono, has definitely been the most influential for me. I began studying with her halfway through middle school so she has been the one who has guided me through VYOA, the All-State Orchestra, and the New England Orchestra. With Kathleen, I have seen my improvement over the years and without her constant guidance and encouragement, I know I would not be half the player I was today.

What other sports/groups/activities are you involved in?
Aside from VYO, most of my time is spent running. I’ve run cross country and track on the school team for the past four years which takes up the whole school year. Running has been a big part of my life since before middle school, so it’s something that I really cherish and hope to continue in the future. I am also a captain of my school’s Mathleague team, where we compete throughout the school year with the math teams of other schools.

If you could perform with any musician, living or dead, who would it be & why?
I would want to perform with Soovin Kim because he is so talented at what he does seems like a very enthusiastic person. I think that being able to play with him would be a life-changing experience and would help me be a better player.

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to attend a four-year university and major in Economics/Mathematics (although the latter is subject to change). I hope to continue playing violin in college and possibly join the orchestra or a chamber group.

 

VYChorus Senior Spotlight!

Thong (Key) Ngyuen, voice
Winooski High School
Joined VYOA in 2015
VYChorus – 2 years

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love most about singing? 
Singing is a way for me to find balance in my life. I enjoy every moment I perform on stage or just simply singing in my bedroom. I confess that every time I have a concert or a music event coming up, I feel more motivated to finish all other works faster and have some free time to practice my piece.

Who or what has been your most important musical influence?
Mr. Pillsbury has been my most important musical influence. He is a wonderful conductor and a great teacher. He taught me to sing, helped me to prepare for auditions, inspired me to keep going forward, and supported me every step of the way to who I am today. My singing style is strongly influenced by Pillsbury. Every time I have a chance to work with professional singers to advance my skills, they all tell me that whoever taught me to sing had done a wonderful job. (Well, Mr. Pillsbury, take your credit!)

What has been the most inspiring experience that you have had as a member of the VYChorus?
I have many great experiences as a VYChorus member but I would say the most inspiring experience for me is just simply be able to sing with other members of VYC every week. I am grateful for every moment I spent with them because I can’t imagine how boring my life would be without those amazing friends. In fact, one of them became a very close (and important) friend of mine. My life has changed 180° since I joined VYC.

Why did you choose to join the VYChorus?
I would give 2/3 of the credit to Rainbow Chen, a double bassist in VYO. She was the reason why I applied to VYChorus. The other 1/3 of the credit would go to my school because if the choral program at my high school did not suddenly get taken away when I already felt deeply in love with singing, I would never think about joining other music programs. I was really sad but I thought that everything happened for a reason. If I did not join VYC, I would never get to know Mr. Pillsbury and other members of VYC. That being said, all of the things I mentioned in question #2 and #3 would not have happened.

What other sports/groups/activities are you involved in?
Leadership and social activities are my two other favorites. This year I mostly focus on school and college works so I spent less time for leadership and social activities but in the last three years, I have been a member/youth counselor of Diversity Rocks International Youth Group; a youth-led group with the mission of helping our community to be a better place and creating a safe place for youth voice to be heard. The group activities are varied from helping students with their homework to hosting conferences about social issues. I also involved in student government and student voice team at my high school to take the lead on creating a better learning environment.

 If you could perform with any musician, living or dead, who would it be & why?
If I could perform with any musician, I would want to perform with Joan Sutherland, one of the legends in the opera world. I still remember my first opera experience was watching a video of Joan Sutherland’s performance on Youtube (it was about five years ago). I was so impressed by that; her voice and the music she made were beyond what I had experienced before and that was also when I found out how much I love Opera.

What are your plans after graduation?
My plan after graduation is going to a 4-year college. I’m not sure what I want to major in but I know that it will be something in bio-science field. I will definitely keep singing, so I might end up double major or minor in music performance with the focus in Opera.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: VYOA Welcomes Benjamin Klemme as Music Director!

The Vermont Youth Orchestra Association (VYOA) has named Benjamin Klemme, D.M.A. of Davenport, IA, to the position of music director, effective July 1, 2017. Klemme succeeds Jeffrey Domoto, who served as music director from 2011 until his resignation in May 2016. Edward Cumming, a member of the faculty at the Hartt School in Hartford, CT, served as interim Vermont Youth Orchestra conductor for 2016-2017 season while the organization conducted a national search.

Currently, Klemme holds concurrent positions as music director and conductor, Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles, and associate conductor, Quad City Symphony Orchestra, both located in the Davenport area, as well as concert orchestra conductor, Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, and orchestra conductor, Augsburg College, both located in Minneapolis, MN.

Previous experience includes positions as assistant and associate conductor for other professional orchestras such as the Cleveland Pops and National Repertory Orchestras, as well as the collegiate program at the University of Minnesota. He has also served as a faculty member at the MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis, Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association, and New Mexico School for the Arts.

“We are all looking forward to Benjamin’s arrival,” said Mike Noble, chair, VYOA Board of Directors. “This was a very competitive search, indicative of the amount of attention the VYOA receives from music organizations across the country. Benjamin brings a wealth of experience to the VYOA and he stood out as the unanimous choice to lead us forward. Paired with our executive director, Rosina Cannizzaro, the organization has an exciting future ahead.

“At the same time,” Noble continued, “I want to recognize the wonderful work Edward Cumming did with us as interim conductor of the Vermont Youth Orchestra this year. His willingness to join us on Sundays from Hartford, CT, for rehearsals and the concerts was a monumental effort.”

“I am extremely honored to have been invited to join the VYOA as music director,” said Klemme. “The VYOA is a cultural treasure with a strong tradition of musical and educational excellence. I look forward to working with the many individuals who comprise the VYOA community in order to sustain its artistic distinction, and empower its students to achieve their potential in ways that enliven and enrich Vermont’s cultural atmosphere.”

Klemme received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa, a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from University of Minnesota. He and his family will be relocating to Vermont this spring.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Klemme to the VYOA family!

VYO Senior Spotlight!

Julia Chadwick, violin
Essex High School
Joined VYOA in 2009
VYO – 3 years
VYPhilharmonia – 1 year
Sinfonia – 3 years
VYStrings – 1 year
Presto – 3 sessions

What do you love about playing your instrument?
I love being able to play a variety of different styles of music. As a violinist it can be really difficult to maintain good tone, so achieving correct style for any piece is always challenging. The feeling of finally mastering a specific style is probably one of the most enjoyable feelings.

What is your favorite or most memorable piece that you performed with any VYOA ensemble?
One of the most memorable pieces I performed with the VYOA was the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto played by Senior Soloist, John Yao.  I remember that rehearsal where about 2 measures in we all knew he was an extraordinary cellist. Many of the other senior soloists are exceptional as well, but John’s was the first I ever experienced, and the most memorable.

What is your favorite VYOA memory?
One of my favorite VYOA memories was during my first year at Reveille. I made a variety of friends that week, and I distinctly remember running around the dorms at night and baking brownies in one of the dorm kitchens.

What do you look forward to in playing your final VYO concert?
I look forward to making beautiful music with my friends.

What other sports/groups/activities are you involved in?
I am also involved in Vermont Works for Women, my school orchestra, cross country, and nordic skiing.

If you could perform with any (famous) musician, who would it be & why?
If I could perform with anyone it would be Itzhak Perlman. He is a legend in the violin community and I have met him briefly, and he is an extremely pleasant man. Playing with him would be a great learning opportunity, and enjoyable.

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan on going to college to get a Geology degree. I hope to continue playing in music ensembles in college and beyond, and I am eager to meet more great young musicians along the way.

 

 

VYO Senior Spotlight!

Nathan Bamberger, horn
Champlain Valley Union High School
Joined VYOA in 2013
VYPhilharmonia – 1 year
VYO – 2 years

What do you love about playing your instrument?
The reason I love playing the horn is because of its versatility. It contains such a wide array of colors and dynamics, and the four octave range is nothing to sneeze at either. As a player you have to have knowledge of how to sound like a brass instrument, a woodwind instrument, and at times a string instrument, jumping in between whenever the moment calls for it. The timbre of the horn allows you to be not only loud and brassy, such as with the Infernal Dance from Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite, but also smooth and elegant, such as with Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and also heroic and bold, as with Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben. Knowing how to walk the fine line of these sounds is what makes the horn so amazing to play, constantly shifting the character of your playing to either support or lead sections. You really are the glue that holds the orchestra together, blending the distinct sounds of the three major sections, while also containing enough unique characteristics to have your part stand out.

What has been the most memorable experience you’ve had with VYO?
The most memorable experience I have had with VYO was playing the first and last movements of Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 on our tour of Iceland. At that point I was still in VYP, so being invited to go on the trip was such a huge honor. The first time I saw VYO in concert was during the 2014 OrchestraChorusPalooza concert, where they played the full symphony. I remember thinking that they sounded amazing, and that there was no way I could sound like that. When I found out that I was invited on the tour, and that we would be playing that specific piece, it was a full circle moment for me.

What would you like to change about the classical music world?
If there could be one thing I would change about the classical music world, it would be to make it more diverse. When we talk about the history of classical music, we are almost strictly talking about old white guys, the remnants of that we are still seeing today. Minority groups have so many unique stories to express not only through the music of the great classical composers, but through works of their own. I hope to see someday that a woman conducting a major orchestra isn’t seen as revolutionary, it’s the norm. I hope to see black and latinx musicians get equal opportunities to bear their souls through this great artform. A diverse world means a greater collection of ideas, where we can pull from more experiences and create more interesting music. That is what I hope for in the future of this great artform.

What was your biggest musical breakthrough?
For me, my greatest musical breakthrough was being accepted into Carnegie Hall’s NYO2 program. Coming from Vermont you don’t really get a lot of experiences when it comes to classical music, beside VYO and Allstate. It’s almost like you’re trapped in a musical bubble, without much exposure to the outside world. NYO2 showed me that my level of playing was better than I thought it was, and it gave me the confidence to keep pushing myself beyond what I thought was possible. It exposed me to people who were just as driven and passionate as I was, and gave me a group of friends who help me achieve my highest musical ability. It helped me understand how a professional orchestra runs, and how hard one has to work to get there. The connections I made gave me a greater understanding of my abilities, and how to work with people to make truly exceptional music.

What is the greatest musical challenge you have ever faced?
Without a doubt, soloing with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. It was the first solo I’d ever performed, so I was going into unknown territory. Also, in being asked to perform instead of audition, I felt the pressure of the VSO assuming I was good enough to perform with them, instead of actually earning the opportunity. I was up until midnight and a couple occasions trying to make sure that the more technical passages of the concerto were together and clean, but sometimes it felt that whenever I made a step forward, I took two steps back the next day. I was mentally exhausting, the pressure I had put on myself was hard to deal with sometimes, but when I got onstage during our first rehearsal I felt completely comfortable. That experience taught me that sometimes it’s better to let go than to drill a passage for hours on end. The great thing about live performance is the spontaneity of it, the reality that anything could happen at any time. It’s good to just let things happen every once in a while.

If you could perform with any musician, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
If I could perform with any musician, it would be a five way tie between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Strauss, Richard Wagner, and Gustav Mahler. I know that’s a lot of people, but they were all so titular in the making of how the horn was played/written for. The five of them created revolutionary pieces that expanded the boundaries of the instrument, many of which (to my joy and dread) are played as orchestral excerpts in auditions. Pieces like Götterdämmerung, Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Das Rheingold, Mahler Symphonies No. 1 and 5, Beethoven Symphonies No. 3 and 9, and Mozart’s four horn concertos completely revolutionized the technicality and flexibility that is called for by modern players. To be able to work with these visionaries directly would be the joy of a lifetime.

What do you plan to do after graduation?
I plan to major in orchestral french horn performance, and hopefully land a spot in a professional orchestra after I graduate college. Playing horn is my passion, and even though I haven’t been playing for that long, I feel as though I cannot do anything else. For me it’s not whether or not I want to major in music, it’s a need to major in music. Classical music has taken me so far beyond anything I could have imagined, helping me leave the sometimes confined space that is the Green Mountains, and I hope to be able to play my instrument for as long as humanly possible.

VYO Senior Spotlight

Rachel Schwartz, trumpet
Harwood Union High School
Joined VYOA in 2016
VYO – 1 year
What do you love about playing your instrument?
The trumpet is really a loud and proud instrument. That’s what my personality is like, and I get to express that in a lot of the music we play. But it can also be surprisingly soft and gentle and supporting, and I try really hard to make sure I keep in touch with that side of myself too. The trumpet really represents who I am and I love that.

What has been the most inspiring or memorable piece that you performed with VYO?
Most memorable, the Colgrass Timpani Concerto. The trumpet part was absolutely nuts and we worked really hard on it. In the end, we did great, but it was a lot of effort.

What do you love about being in an orchestra?
I don’t often get an opportunity to play music that involves strings because Harwood doesn’t have any, so I’m getting the chance to play music otherwise unavailable to me. It’s also great as a composer because I’ve learned a lot about what other instruments like oboes and bassoons (which we also don’t have) can do.

What would you like to change about the classical music world?
The idea that it’s boring. When I first took music theory my freshman year, I was one of those people who believed that I didn’t like classical music simply because I’d only been exposed to the really common stuff. Through that class I found one of my favorite pieces (Schubert’s Erlkonig) and began to appreciate it more.

What other sports/groups/activities are you involved in?
I am head carpenter for the Harwood Stage Crew and I’ve helped build sets for four productions. I’m also in our school’s Queer Straight Alliance where we help support each other and affect change in our school.

If you could perform with any musician, living or dead, who would it be & why?
Oh my gosh, that’s so hard. I’m not sure I could really pick just one, but for the sake of this question I’m going to say Freddie Mercury. He was so unabashedly loud and proud, and he never let anyone tell him what to do or who to be. I’ve grown up listening to a lot of classic rock, and Queen was always towards the top of my favorites list.

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I plan on majoring in music, although I’m not sure of the exact path I want to take. I’m leaning towards sound design and music technology/production, but I still don’t know for sure. I’m also considering a minor in theater tech; I love the kind of stuff we do for the Stage Crew and it’s really been an amazing experience.

February e-Newsletter: Announcing Summer Symphony Camp!

2017 Symphony Camp Web Banner

We’re excited to announce a brand new summer music experience, Summer Symphony Camp! Also in our February e-news are details about the upcoming Spring Rug Concert for children ages 5 & under and how to contribute to our Online Auction. Read about the VYOA’s performance at the Vermont State House.  Click here to check out our February e-Newsletter.

VYO Senior Spotlight!

Here are 2 more members of our VYO Senior Class!

Isaacs-FalbelAdamAdam Isaacs-Falbel
Montpelier High School
Joined VYOA in 2015
VYO – 2 years

 

 

 

 

SolheimIsaacIsaac Solheim
Champlain Valley Union High School
Joined VYOA in 2010
VYStrings – 2 years
VYSinfonia – 1 year
VYPhilharmonia – 1 year
VYO – 2 years

 

What do you love about playing your instrument?
Isaac: I have always been drawn to the violin because it typically plays the main melody and because it is such a lyrical and emotional instrument. You really “feel” the music when you are playing.
Adam: What I love about playing the cello is that it is such a versatile and beautiful instrument, and that it really gives me a chance to escape from my life into the music that I’m playing.

What is your favorite or most memorable piece that you performed with any VYOA ensemble?
Adam: The most memorable piece that I have performed with VYO was the Firebird Suite, by Igor Stravinsky. I have always loved that piece and it was a real treat to play it with such an awesome group of musicians.

What is your favorite VYOA memory?
Isaac: Definitely our trip to Iceland in summer 2015. Not only was it an extremely remarkable country to visit and experience, but I also made a lot of new friends- some of whom have become some of my closest.

What do you look forward to in playing your final VYO concert?
Isaac: It will be an emotional evening, as I have played with the VYOA and its various orchestras since I moved to Vermont seven years ago. My very first week in Vermont I did the Music Day Camp, so it has been an important part of my Vermont experience.

What would you like to change about the classical music world?
Adam: I would like to change the popular mindset that classical music is “boring,” because in my experience, while some of it can be boring at times, it is some of the best music ever written.

What other sports/groups/events are you involved in?
Adam: I am a captain of my high school baseball team, as well as being in the drama club, the jazz band, and Student Council.
Isaac: I’ve always tried a variety of sports growing up, such as tennis, fencing, soccer, and more. Currently, in the winters I race with the CVU Alpine Ski Team and in the summers I sail on the lake. I also try to workout and go running most days.

If you could perform with any (famous) musician, who would it be & why?
Isaac: I would love to perform on the violin with a musician like Joshua Bell. When I first started playing the violin one of my teachers had gone to Julliard and during that time had the opportunity to work with him. She would always tell us stories about him and encourage us to go to his concerts.
Adam: I would perform with Dizzy Gillespie, because I admire his improvisation skills, as well as how adventurous he was.

What are your plans after graduation?
Isaac: I will be heading to Europe in September to study Environmental Sciences and Sustainable Development at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Adam: After graduation, I hope to go to a college (not sure which one) to study political science.