Final Notes On Camp

How I can explain how wonderful Reveille! was for me this year? I made so many new friends and branched out a lot more then I have previously.

Mary McSweeney, viola

Mary McSweeney, viola

It’s always satisfying to finish a concert with my bow high in the air, feeling proud of the work that I have accomplished. At the beginning of the week, I was reminiscing about the tour and missing the orchestra that went to France…and our dress rehearsal left me feeling that things were a bit sketchy (if you know what I mean). However, by the end of the concert on Sunday, I had changed my mind entirely. The orchestra sounded good and the concert was a blast! The repertoire was so much fun to play and Mary McSweeney did a fantastic job soloing on the Berlioz  Harold in Italy.

Troy Peters’ and Andrew Massey’s conducting styles could not be more different…  I can’t say that I prefer one more then the other. Although I enjoyed Mr. Peters’ style, which was sometimes loud and very vocal, I’m also really liking the way that Mr. Massey conducts. He makes these funny faces and gestures – they remind me of the mood we should be conveying at that moment in the music. I find this very helpful!

Overall, my friends and I had a wonderful time at camp. I found myself a bit teary as I closed the door to my room and headed to the final check out on Sunday. Although it’s nice to be home, I really miss camp and everyone there.

At least I have one more year of Reveille! to anticipate…

Daphnee Vandal, violin    (Photo: Stina Plant)

Practicing Under Trees

Quartet 4My primary goal during my first week with VYOA was to meet as many students as possible and to get to know faculty, staff and parents. I shouldn’t be surprised, but the students are incredibly interesting, intelligent and polite. They are a diverse bunch, hailing from seemingly all over Vermont.

It has been great to hear how much progress both the advanced and younger players can make in one week. This is no small feat, and is largely due to the incredible faculty, conductors, and the super-friendly and organized administration, but is also due to the support of the parents and their teachers back home. However, most of all, it is the result of all of the hard work by the students themselves. It was so amazing to hear them practicing both inside and outside under the trees.

I also heard some great compositions by Eric Nielsen‘s composition class—it is incredible what they accomplished in less than a week!—as well, I sat in on VYO rehearsals led by conductor Andrew Massey and VYP rehearsals led by Anne Decker.

All week, I had a chance to meet students by hanging out in the hall or at meals, but also via two classes I taught: Advanced Tonal Theory, and Meet The Moderns, a class designed to introduce the students to modern music and the music of living composers.

More VGLFor the Meet The Moderns class, I initially thought I would only play music I chose, but since my main goal was to get to know everyone, I thought it would be great to let the students play what they like. Of course, I had no idea how this would turn out, and I did not screen the music ahead of time, but it turned out to be a lot of fun: everyone has such diverse tastes. Interestingly, many students chose to play classical music but others played everything from instrumental rock, metalcore and folk metal (I have to admit that I wasn’t even aware of these specific genres), and even a orchestral/rock piece entitled One-Winged Angel, inspired by a role-playing video game. I played some of my music, and even created an iTunes playlist that contains most of the pieces we shared. We also heard a really great bassoon solo (with multiphonics!) by VYO student composer Tim Woos entitled Assembly Line.

Finally, I was very impressed by the orchestral concert at the end of the festival. After only one week of rehearsals, both orchestras sounded quite good. The audience, packed with families, friends and musicians, gave a rousing standing ovation after hearing Mary McSweeney’s elegantly performed viola solo in Berlioz’s Harold In Italy, and at the end of the concert. Hats off to both Andrew Massey and Anne Decker for doing such a wonderful job of shaping all of the pieces.

I am really looking forward to working with the students, Andrew, Anne, the wonderful staff, and everyone else again this fall and to hearing my music played by VYO in January. It is going to be a fantastic three years!

Rob Paterson, VYOA Music Alive Composer-in-Residence

Robert Paterson is the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the VYOA. Music Alive is a national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and Meet The Composer.

From the Top…

DaphneeThis being my 5th year at Reveille, I’ve grown accustomed to coming to the Music Center every summer to live in the Saint Michael’s dorms for a week.

This year is different. I’m not part of the younger crowd anymore. I’m a high school junior, so suddenly I’m a member of the older crowd…exactly like the older VYO musicians I used to look up to when I was younger! It’s quite strange being the older student…but I’ll admit that it’s pretty nice being at the top of the chain.

Another difference for me:  This is my first experience  as a VYO member without Mr. Peters being the Music Director. I’m not going to lie; it is weird. BUT… I’m getting used to our new conductor, Andrew Massey. I love his sense of the music. And, he is very funny! We work through all of the pieces very slowly, which can be a pain, but we have come a very long way since Monday, the beginning of camp. I always love playing with the new, younger players as they experience a new orchestra and new conductor. Ross Kelly's violin

For one of my electives, I’m taking a class called “Meet the Moderns” with our Composer-in-Residence, Rob Paterson. I didn’t know what to expect, but as the week has progressed, I am enjoying his different tastes in music and interpreting with us what we think is ‘Modern Music’. On Wednesday, he played some his own compositions and they were amazing! I especially loved the piece he wrote for his own wedding that featured six trumpets. The harmonies were fantastic and you could almost hear the church bells in the music. I am so looking forward to playing his music and to hearing more of his compositions.

Daphnee Vandal, violin

At Reveille! With Rob Paterson

For the next three years, I will be composer in residence with the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association. Although I live in New York City, I have lived all over the U.S. and even in Vermont for a few years a while back. It is wonderful to experience the musical side of Vermont once again, this time through the VYOA. I am having an incredible time.

My first week involves taking part in the Reveille! Music Festival. There are over a hundred and fifty musicians, and I am spending the week hanging out, getting to know everyone, listening to rehearsals, and teaching two classes: one entitled “Meet The Moderns”, where I play pieces I love written by mostly living composers, and anPaterson lecturing arms swideother entitled “Advanced Tonal Theory.”

On the first day of the Meet The Moderns class, I asked everyone what the term “modern music” means. When someone said Schoenberg, I was a little shocked. To help dispel the notion that twelve-tone composers define the word “modern” (keep in mind that Schoenberg died in 1951), I have been playing music by composers such as Luciano Berio, Morten Lauruden and Steve Reich, and I have a few other interesting, living composers planned for the rest of the week. I am putting together an iTunes playlist that contains most of the pieces I am presenting, in case anyone wants to download something they like.

Yesterday I played some of my music so everyone could hear what I compose. I thought this was a good idea, since VYOA is programming one of my orchestral pieces each year for the first two years, and I am being commissioned for a new piece for orchestra and choir for the 2011-12 season.

Today, some of the students brought in pieces they like, and it was an eye-opening experience. My only requirement was that they explain to everyone in the class why they like what they play. We heard everything from Joseph Schwantner‘s Velocities for solo marimba to Summa by Arvo Pärt, as well as music by Eluveitie and Bring Me The Horizon. It was incredibly eclectic. We will listen to more student chosen pieces tomorrow, and I will throw one or two more pieces into the mix as well.

It is not all just about class: yesterday everyone went to Oakledge Park. I think we all appreciated getting away from the campus for a few hours, and Lake Champlain was actually not too cold!

That’s it for now. I will write about Reveille! once more at the end of the festival. Stay tuned…

Rob Paterson, VYOA Music Alive Composer-in-Residence

Robert Paterson is the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the VYOA. Music Alive is a national residency program of the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet The Composer.


From August 2 – 9, the students of Vermont Youth Philharmonia and the Vermont Youth Orchestra are attending the annual week-long music camp known as the Reveille! Music Festival. The week is an intense kickoff to the 2009-10 concert season: rehearsals, sectionals, theory classes and lots of individual practicing in and around the grounds of the music center. The Elley-Long Music Center andRehearsal on lawn 2 our little corner of the Fort are hopping with activity and with the sounds of music. Seriously.

Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Rob Paterson is here, working with the students for the first time during his three year residency.

The Music Alive Composer-in-Residence program was funded by a $65,000 grant recently awarded to the VYOA by Meet The Composer and the League of American Orchestras. Traditionally granted only to a professional orchestra, the VYO is only the second youth orchestra in the country to receive a Meet The Composer residency award. Very exciting.

During Rob’s residency, the students will work with him on playing his compositions, they’ll attend his master classes and lectures, they’ll work on learning to play compositions he’s written…so, they’ll get to know him pretty well. The residency will culminate with a work written by him for the VYO and the VYO Choruses. Even more exciting.

In the coming weeks (and years) of Rob’s residency, both he and several students will blog about the residency and the activities that will unfold as the residency progresses.

But, I’ll let them tell you all about it…

Lisamarie Charlesworth, Director of Marketing