Twelve More Days…

I’m already nervous.

“Don’t listen to the violins,” asserted Mr. Peters at last Sunday’s VYO rehearsal, “It will slow you down.”

I tried my hardest to drown them out, but it’s pretty impossible to ignore thirty violinists playing only a foot away from you. There are twelve days until I will be standing on the Flynn MainStage (not that I’m counting or anything…), but it feels like I am running out of time to make any improvements on my piece. Everything I play perfectly at the concert should already be perfect, right?

And honestly, I am less worried about something going wrong musically than I  am about tripping over my own feet. I can picture myself toppling over in my pretty silver shoes, flute in hand, and taking out half the second violin section… Missing an accidental is a mistake I can deal with. Taking a spill in front of all those people — my worst nightmare.

-Kelly Herrmann -Photo: Stina Plant

The Buzz on Ravel

Sunday’s rehearsal was very focused.

As I sat in the performance hall eating my lunch, I listened to the first two movements of the Borodin and Chabrier’s Joyeuse marche. The only distraction came in the form of a wasp buzzing around the clarinets, but Mr. Peters quickly captured it and let it outside. After this wasp incident, the orchestra quickly regained their focus and continued playing.

I have been working on the Ravel Piano Concerto for a while now. It is really coming together, which is a relief because the orchestra part is pretty difficult. I am grateful to have an orchestra learn the music so quickly and play it so well!

There is a huge difference in my playing from the front of the stage than from the back of the group, where I usually play. The sound I hear from the orchestra when I am situated in front of them is so much richer. Also, the ability to glance up at Mr. Peters to catch the tempo is really convenient.

The VYO really understands the “jazzy” elements of the Ravel, especially the syncopated rhythms in the fast sections. That syncopation and the bluesy character of the slower sections, are the reasons I love playing this piece – as a jazz musician, I think it is awesome that Ravel incorporated the jazz style of playing into some of his compositions. Hearing the VYO play this piece so well three whole weeks away from the concert…I cannot wait to hear how “together” it will sound next week!

-Sammy Angstman      -Photo: Stina Plant

A View from The Other Side

It feels so weird to be on the other side of things.

When I was younger, and even during the past couple of years in VYO, the senior soloists always seemed so…intimidating. They played their pieces perfectly. They would stand in front of the orchestra with such confidence, obviously having worked toward playing their solo for a very long time. It seemed so easy for them. I would marvel at their talents from the audience or from my place in the middle of the orchestra, thinking that they wouldn’t see my mouth hanging open in total awe.

I know now that they could.

When I stood in front of the VYO in rehearsal today, and looked out at my peers, I didn’t feel nearly as confident or play as fluidly as any of my predecessors. When I saw the faces of the VYO members staring back at me, I felt like they were expecting perfection. But, remembering my younger, open-mouthed self, I thought hopefully that at least one person in the orchestra might look up to me as I had looked up to so many others in the past.

–Kelly Herrmann

Kicking Off a “Magnifique” VYO Season!

During the weeks preceding the fall concert, VYO soloists Kelly Herrmann (flute) and Samantha Angstman (piano) will begin to post their thoughts and comments about the excitement involved in being an orchestral soloist. They are both currently preparing for the VYO opening concert of the season. “Vive la France” will be presented on September 28 at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington and on September 26 at Harwood Union High School in Duxbury.

Additional VYO members will post blog entries in May and July, as the students focus their blog around their preparation for each of this season’s concerts. They’ll comment about their rehearsals, the repertoire they are learning, their lives as emerging musicians and general goings on – from a backstage perspective – at the Elley-Long Music Center.

Feel free to check the blog often! For more details on the VYOA or for details on our concerts, please visit our website at

Photo: Jordan Silverman