VYO Senior Spotlight!

This week’s seniors are both string players from Mount Mansfield Union High!

 

Willoughby Carlo, violin
Mount Mansfield Union High
VT Youth Orchestra – 2 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years
VT Youth Sinfonia – 1 year
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Berry, violin
Mount Mansfield Union High
VT Youth Orchestra – 1 year
VT Youth Philharmonia – 3 years
VT Youth Sinfonia – 1 year
VT Youth Strings – 1 year
Presto – 4 sessions

 

 

 

What do you love about being in an orchestra?

Carlo: I love playing with a large group of talented people who all appreciate good music.

Berry: It is a way for me to expand my musical library.

What role has the VYOA played in your musical career?

Carlo: Before auditioning for the VYOA I had only played fiddle music which I learned by ear and played for social dances. Being a part of the VYOA has really given me exposure and an appreciation for classical music. Being a part of the VYOA has also given me the skills and discipline of playing in a serious ensemble.

Berry: It gives me a reason to keep focusing on practicing, so I can still care about something I enjoy.

What advice would you give to younger music students as they strive to build their skills?

Berry: Focus on the basics and singing the music.

Carlo: Do it for yourself and do it because you enjoy it. I have mentored several young musicians who see playing and practicing as a chore and stopped seeing music as fun. My advice to them is to take a step back and ask themselves why they are playing and why they love music. Once they can rediscover their love for music and their instrument, playing it will be joyful, not mundane.

What would you like to change in the orchestral world?

Carlo: I would like to see more exposure to and appreciation for female composers and minority composers. It is not that there isn’t any music or any good music from these composers it’s simply that they don’t get the credit and exposure they deserve.

What has been your most inspiring or memorable musical experience?

Carlo: My most inspiring musical experience was playing Phantom of the Opera under Dr. Kono. I don’t think this was my favorite piece ever nor was it my best performance, but I just remember sitting on the stage and listening to all the music around me and feeling such a sense of camaraderie and musicianship among everyone involved. I think that performance was probably just the one where I smiled the most.

Apart from orchestral music, what other kind of music do you love?

Berry: I enjoy listening to punk rock, Alternative rock (focus on geek rock), proto-punk, gypsy-punk, glam rock, rock, and more (even though this does not seem varied)

If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Berry: Josh Ritter because he seems very approachable, nice, and is quite good at making sure everyone is heard.

What college or university do you plan to attend next year?

Carlo: I will be attending Hampshire College next year. I plan to design my own course of study that looks that the relationship between sociology, psychology and animal agriculture.

VYO Senior Spotlight!

Meet two members of the VYO Wind section from South Burlington High School!

 

Holly Morgan, horn
South Burlington High
VT Youth Orchestra – 4 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 1 year
VT Youth Sinfonia – 1 ½ years
Designer of the 2017-18 VYOA t-shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Yi, oboe
South Burlington High
VT Youth Orchestra – 2 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love about being in an orchestra?

Morgan: That it’s just so different from the other music groups we have access to these days. Especially for a horn player, where orchestra parts call for an entirely different sort of playing compared to the average school concert band. The orchestra sound really embraces the round, mellow horn tone without forcing it to be as sharp and bright as the other brass, or buried in parts doubled by alto sax.

Yi: My favorite thing about being in an orchestra is working with other musicians to produce music that we otherwise couldn’t by ourselves. Other than that, I love the camaraderie between the musicians; I’ve met countless friends through VYO that I otherwise wouldn’t have, and we are all united by our common love of music.

What role has the VYOA played in your musical career?

Morgan: Going to rehearsals practically every Sunday during every school year from sixth grade through senior year was a constant that saw me through a new town, new school, new challenges and stresses; a time where I’d have to ignore any and all other work to play and focus in on rehearsal. Being a part of the VYOA meant I had to set aside time to practice no matter how much else I was doing, and I had to learn how to express myself through music so I didn’t drive myself crazy. It’s been a constant, balancing force in my life and has taught me that music is the way to continue that.

Yi: Before VYO, I was always convinced that “okay” was enough. But meeting all of these people who push themselves with their instruments and produce amazing music motivates me to strive for more. Their passion even inspired me to pick up the alto saxophone, which I play in my school’s band.

What is your favorite VYOA memory?

Yi: My very first day of VYO at Reveille, I met my orchestra friends that I would become extremely close with over the years. These relationships are something I really treasure even four years later.

What advice would you give to younger music students as they strive to build their skills?

Morgan: Music is not a completely isolated entity! One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since I started playing is that you’ll learn some of the most helpful things from the strangest places. Rowing forced me to find a constant internal pulse, my ideas of tone color came from visual color theory, and I use my theater background for phrasing and finding the right kind of expression. On the flip side, music can apply to whatever you want and lead you along the right path in all sorts of other situations, like… perhaps even your first paid art commission doing the year’s tee shirts, if you want to go into design and illustration.

Apart from orchestral/choral music, what other kind of music do you love?

Yi: I’m a big fan of hip-hop, R&B, and jazz.

Morgan: I will always love a good musical, but if I’m being completely honest my taste in music changes every couple months. I’ll recommend anything from Chayanne, if you’re into cheesy spanish pop from the 80’s, to Celtic rock or kazoo covers of Bach, but as of the moment you will likely find me listening to the Beatles eight times out of ten, particularly Rubber Soul. The other two are probably the live recording of Hadestown, because a folk/bluegrass musical of Greek mythology is exactly up my alley.

If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Yi: Chance the Rapper is one of my favorite artists, and one thing I appreciate about him is that he incorporates a lot of instruments into his music. It would be super cool to see how he would integrate oboe (or sax!) into one of his songs.

What other activities do you participate in?

Morgan: During the Fall and Spring season I coxswain for my school’s open water rowing team. That is to say, I sit in the back of the boat, trying my best to juggle steering, motivating, judging distances and hazards, and screaming at my six rowers to row harder and stay in time. Apparently, I do so well enough to have earned myself a position as team captain. During the Winter, I try to focus more on art, and end up just staring longingly out over the snow-covered lake.

What do you plan to study in college?

Morgan: Visual art, generally. Illustration more specifically, with possible art education, and varying levels of music school to school. I’ll never completely give up music after all the time and effort I’ve put in, but finding a strong art program with access to band or orchestra is a lot harder than one would think.

 

VYOA Senior Spotlight!

Meet two of the members of VYO’s percussion section in this week’s Senior Spotlight!

 

Alex He, percussion

Essex High

VT Youth Orchestra – 1 year

VT Youth Philharmonia – 3 years

VT Youth Sinfonia – 1 year

VT Youth Winds – 1 year

 

 

 

 

 

Nick Mantegna, percussion

Vermont Commons

VT Youth Orchestra – 3 years

VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years

VT Youth Winds – 2 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love about being in an orchestra?

He: The diversity in sound that comes with the orchestra is really amazing. And then when all the sections come together to form a coherent sound, it’s really cool to be a part of that.

What advice would you give to younger music students as they strive to build their skills?

Mantegna: I would tell younger musicians to try and find a section or technique of music they enjoy. Once they find it, keep working at it and find ways to make it part of yourself.

He: Persistence is important and all, but enjoying the music is probably the most important.

What has been your most inspiring or memorable musical experience?

Mantegna: My trip to Iceland is my most memorable experience I had with the VYOA.

Apart from orchestral music, what other kind of music do you love?

Mantegna: I love listening to music that is similar to the artist Odesza. I also like alternative and electronic genres.

He: Swedish Death Metal

If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?

He: Beethoven, as he was deaf, so he wouldn’t be able hear all the mistakes I make.

What other activities do you participate in?

Mantegna: I am an avid downhill and backcountry skier. I also am a proud Ultimate Frisbee player.

What do you plan to study in college?

Mantegna: I plan to probably study snow science or environmental science/studies in college.

He: Economics with a math focus at Northwestern University

VYOA Senior Spotlight!

Tommy Bergeron, horn

Essex High
VT Youth Orchestra – 5 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 1 year
VT Youth Sinfonia – 1 year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                             

Grace Bellino, violin

Essex High
VT Youth Orchestra – 3 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 1 year
VT Youth Sinfonia – 2 years
VT Youth Strings – 1 year
Presto – 2 sessions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love about being in an orchestra and/or chorus?

Bellino: I love that VYO gives me a chance to collaborate with instruments other than strings, which I might not have learned about or worked with had I not been in the VYO. Hearing the power of all the different instruments together is truly inspiring.

What has been your biggest musical breakthrough?

Bergeron: I would say my “Biggest musical breakthrough” was when I first got into music directing theater productions. Until I started participating in this side of musical theatre, I had just been on stage in shows. However, once I started to music direct, I found that it was a really neat way to give back to the community. I get to help others sing onstage and give joy to so many people in the audience. There really is no other feeling.

What role has the VYOA played in your musical career?

Bellino: Going to orchestra every weekend and making music with my friends has been a wonderful constant throughout my musical career. The friendly competition has encouraged me to practice my parts and has subsequently made me a better musician.

What has been your most inspiring or memorable musical experience?

Bergeron: I think the most inspiring and memorable musical experience I’ve had was being part of the National Youth Orchestra 2 this past summer. I got to perform with the best orchestral students across the nation, as well as perform side by side with the Philadelphia Orchestra. But the biggest moment of the whole experience was getting to perform at Carnegie Hall in NYC.

Bellino: My most inspiring musical experience was meeting Itzhak Perlman. He was so humble and eager to share his knowledge and love of music.

What is your favorite VYOA memory?

Bergeron: My favorite VYOA memory has to be performing Beethoven’s full 9th symphony as an 8th grader, or getting to perform as part of the VYO while they toured Iceland

What other activities do you participate in?

Bellino: I am a ballerina with the Vermont Ballet Theater Company. It is always fun to dance to music I have played in VYO.

Bergeron: I do a lot of Musical Theater. I have been on stage in numerous productions, but have also music directed and played the pit for many shows as well. This art form combines my love of acting and music into one.

What do you plan to study in college?

Bellino: Biology

Bergeron: I plan on pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theater next fall.

 

 

 

VYO Senior Spotlight!

This week’s Senior Spotlight includes two of our VYO Senior Soloists! Malachi Witt will perform in the upcoming Winter VYO Concert on Jan. 28, while Israel Patterson was our Fall VYO Concerto soloist this past September.

Malachi Witt, tuba
Homeschool
VYOrchestra – 3 years
VYChorus – 3 years
VYPhilharmonia – 1 year
VYSinfonia – 2 years
VYWinds – 1 year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israel Patterson, flute 
Essex High
VYOrchestra – 3 years
VYO Senior Soloist, Fall 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love about being in an orchestra?
Patterson: I like the challenge that I’m brought in receiving difficult music that I can play with my peers. To see so many dedicated musicians my age is a humbling, inspiring, and amazing feeling, and I think the sense of community has been instrumental in my growth as a performer, pun intended.

What role has the VYOA played in your musical career?
Witt: The VYOA has been part of my life for the last seven years. I have enjoyed growing musically with other students in Chamber Winds, Vermont Youth Sinfonia, Vermont Youth Philharmonia, Vermont Youth Orchestra as well as the Vermont Youth Chorus. I am grateful for the excellent conductors and sectional coaches who have introduced me to a variety of composers and musical works.

Patterson: The VYOA has fostered a lot of my growth where school bands and practice on my own could not. It pushed me outside the box in terms of difficulty of the materials I played, and it broadened my range of knowledge about music, specifically regarding orchestral repertoire.

What has been your most inspiring or memorable musical experience?
Witt: Preparing for the senior solo has been a memorable experience. I am excited to have the opportunity to play with the VYO!

What would you like to change in the orchestral/choral world?
Patterson: I think that the representation of music from people of all backgrounds – ethnicity, gender, and age – should be more emphasized and celebrated in the classical music world. There are incredible works that have been created for centuries that have been sorely ignored by our current establishment, due to unfair prejudices that I think underlie much of the classical music world, however subliminally.

What other activities do you participate in?
Witt: I have enjoyed participating in the school musical productions, especially playing Bert in Mary Poppins. Recently, I had the opportunity to present research at the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans. I also volunteer with a group of second and third graders. It was great to see some of the students attend the VYO/ VSO link up concert last year.

Patterson: I’m an avid theater junkie, and I do a lot of singing outside of the VYO – playing at festivals, participating in competitions, and jamming with my friends and family.

What do you plan to study in college?
Witt: I hope to double major in Music Performance and Ecological Agriculture.

Patterson: Music of some sort, of which kind right now I’m undecided. I’m heavily considering flute performance, but I’m also quite drawn to singing. It really depends on what programs I can get into.

VYO Senior Spotlight!

It’s that time of year when we prepare to send our seniors off on their next great adventure! In celebration of the Class of 2018 we begin our Senior Spotlight series, highlighting different students each week. This is a chance to hear, in their own words, what music means to them and what they plan to do next.

 

Lark Thompson, violin
Lake Champlain Waldorf School
Joined VYOA in 2011
VYOrchestra – 2 years
VYPhilharmonia – 2 years
VYSinfonia – 1 year
VYStrings – 2 years

 

 

 

Camille Gunter, trombone
BFA St. Albans
Joined VYOA in 2014
VYOrchestra – 1 year
VYPhilharmonia – 2 years
VYSinfonia – ½ year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love about being in an orchestra?
Gunter: Being in an orchestra gives me a sense of community and connects me to my peers in a unique way. Working toward a collective musical goal creates bonds between orchestra members, and I feel connected to my fellow VYOA members in a way which I have not experienced with non-musicians. I love being in an orchestra because it expands my perspectives. I realize it is important to listen to my fellow musicians in musical and non-musical contexts, which helps me to collaborate with others in all aspects of my life.

What role has the VYOA played in your musical career?
Thompson: I started playing violin in second grade, and by the time I was in fifth I was a member of the organization. It’s been a huge part of my life since then and has given me the opportunity to explore many different composers and pieces of music.

What is your favorite VYOA memory?
Thompson: One of my favorite VYOA events is always the OrchestraChorusPalooza Concert. For many years, my best friends have come to watch the concert and it has become a tradition that marks the beginning of the holiday season.

Gunter: I first joined the VYOA after a midseason audition in 7th grade, and I went into it nervous and not knowing anyone. Two girls approached me and instantly became my friends. From that moment on, I have felt like a part of the family that is the VYOA. I have had unforgettable experiences growing up with these musicians, and creating friendships that will continue far beyond our time with the VYOA.

If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Gunter: I would collaborate with Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. He revolutionized modern music and his innovations changed the way music studios are used forever. He created Pet Sounds and SMiLE, my two favorite albums.

What other activities do you participate in?
Thompson: I take part in sports at school such as basketball, and recently have been enjoying volunteering with hospice. I also spend a lot of time babysitting and have deep connections with many kids. In the summer, I work at a children’s camp in DC. My work with kids has extended in the last two years to teaching a ten year old girl violin.

What do you plan to study in college?
Gunter: I plan to study Music Education.

Thompson: I have many interests, including architecture and studio arts, two things that have been nurtured by my Waldorf education. I also have always been attracted to the idea of working in the social sciences.

Congratulations students!

On behalf of everyone at the VYOA, I wish to congratulate the talented young musicians of VYO, VYP, VYS, Chorus, and Chorale on their incredible OrchestraChorusPalooza performances. Palooza gives us a unique opportunity to bring our entire organization together, and powerfully demonstrates the musical and personal growth our students experience during their years with the VYOA. If you were in the audience on Sunday, I trust you were moved by the joy and passion with which the musicians performed, and by the inspirational reflections of our senior speakers.

We are deeply grateful for everyone’s attendance at the concert, and for the support of the sponsors, volunteers, donors, and community partners that make these memorable musical experiences possible. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure young Vermonters have access to the high quality musical experiences they need and deserve!

Benjamin Klemme, Music Director

Photo credit: Arielle Thomas

Meet Flat Tchaikovsky!

Click here for a printable paper Tchaikovsky

As part of our “Tchaikovsky in Vermont” project, illustrator and parent of alumni Tim Newcomb created this paper Tchaikovsky. Follow @VYOAorg, cut out your paper Tchaikovsky, and take photos with him over the coming months. Share your adventures with Flat Tchaikovsky on social media using the hashtag #tchaikovskyinvt

Three lucky winners will receive a VYOA gift bag!

 

Vermont Youth Orchestra Offers Transformational Learning for Children

 

Vermont State Homes offers resources for every step of the home buying process because they understand what a big purchase and decision a home is. That’s why S. Mathur wrote an article about the invaluable opportunities we, the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association (VYOA), provide young Vermonters right here in Colchester. As people start to think about where they’d like to settle down, it’s nice to know what each community has to offer. Thank you, Vermont State Homes, for recognizing that, “music is a way for children to learn life skills and citizenship.” Click here to read the Vermont State Home article, “Vermont Youth Orchestra Offers Transformational Learning for Children”.