Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight!

David Amouretti, double bass
Essex High

VT Youth Orchestra – 1 year
VT Youth Philharmonia – 1 year
VT Youth Strings – 1/2 year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacob Banicki, percussion
Essex High

VT Youth Orchestra – 1 year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did you choose your instrument over all of the others?

Amouretti: I started playing double bass because I loved jazz, but soon after I switched to playing mainly classical double bass. I also love how the bass is the backbone of any ensemble it is in, and that others rely on it without even knowing.

Banicki: When I was really young (about five) my grandma got me a drumset to play on. This was definitely the deciding factor that got me to play percussion. When 5th grade rolls around I started playing trumpet even though my heart was in percussion. I then switched 2 months later and the rest is history.

 

What role does music play in your life?

Amouretti: Music helps me make new friends, collaborate with others, take me to new places, and express myself. There hasn’t been a day in the past couple of years that music hasn’t been a part of.

 

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

Banicki: It’s never too late to start building your skills as a musician. Practice regularly and work with a qualified teacher and you are on your way to becoming a great musician. A good teacher will help guide you in honing your skills.

 

What do you enjoy most about playing in an orchestra?

Amouretti: I enjoy the feeling of family that comes with orchestra, and how we all come from different backgrounds and experiences to create one piece of art.

Banicki: At its most basic level, I love the music that we get to play. From composers like Tchaikovsky to Mahler, it’s just exciting to play music that you otherwise wouldn’t play. My friends and peers in the orchestra make it a supportive and friendly environment to create music.

 

Apart from orchestral music, what other kinds of music do you listen to? Do other genres influence what you hear in orchestral music?

Amouretti: I listen to a lot of acoustic, funk, rock, and jazz music. I feel like the connection to other musicians and the feeling of truly saying something with your music carries across into my orchestral playing.

 

What other activities do you participate in?

Banicki: I participate in many pit orchestras for musical theater, as well as many jazz bands through school. I also have a rock band with some of my friends.

 

What do you plan to study in college and how did you make your choice?

Amouretti: I plan to study classical music performance in college. I chose this because I realized a few years ago that I could not live without it, and it was one of the few things that truly made me happy in my life.

Banicki: Percussion Performance. I chose this because I love performing for people, and sharing music with others. The feeling that you get when you connect with the audience or listeners is indescribable and great.

 

Congratulations David & Jacob! Your passion for music radiates brightly & we look forward to seeing where it will take you!

Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight!

Nathan Wu, violin
Essex High

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

 

 

 

How did you choose your instrument over all of the others?

I got started with violin through my elementary school’s orchestra program, which gave students the opportunity to start a string instrument in 4th grade. My first choice was actually the bass, but my twin brother had already chosen the cello, so my parents wisely encouraged me to choose the violin, having the foresight to encourage us to play instruments that would complement each other.

 

What do you enjoy most about playing in an orchestra?

There’s something special about the process of creating music not alone, but with others. I love the inherently collaborative nature of orchestra – it’s like a giant group project where every person has a distinct role. It’s hard to articulate, but I guess it’s the feeling of being a part of something much bigger and grander than yourself while still knowing that you had a hand in shaping that something.

 

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

Try to build a community of young musicians around you, whether it be through joining an orchestra, going to summer music programs, or playing chamber music. It’s reassuring to know that you’re not alone in your musical journey. Also, playing music with other people adds a whole new dimension – it’s super fun and requires an important skill set that isn’t practiced with solo repertoire!

 

What other activities do you participate in?

I run cross country and nordic ski for my school. I am also a member of Student Government and enjoy being a part of my school’s Scholars’ Bowl team.

 

What do you plan to study in college and how did you make your choice?

I’m hoping to study either biochemistry/biophysics or computer science, ideally a combination of the two (computational biology). I’ve always been fascinated by the line between life and non-life, and I think that looking at this subject from a computational point of view is especially cool because computational methods enable predictive modeling of interactions between molecules and pathways, permitting an understanding of life’s inner workings on a level impossible with conventional lab or field experiments.

 

Congratulations Nathan! Your musicianship and camaraderie have inspired many students and adults during your time here at the VYOA!

Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight!

Sarah Bialas, bassoon
South Burlington High

VT Youth Orchestra – 3 1/2 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 1 1/2 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie Dauerman, oboe
Champlain Valley Union

VT Youth Orchestra – 3 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 3 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathryn Meyer, oboe
Stowe High

VT Youth Orchestra – 3 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did you choose your instrument over all of the others?

Bialas: I chose to play the bassoon because of how unique it looked and sounded. I remember sitting in music class in fifth grade listening to the High School students give presentations about their instruments. I was immediately drawn to the weird, tall instrument with a deep, woody sound and told my mom I wanted to play it.

Dauerman: I knew I wanted to play a woodwind instrument after learning the recorder in school. I also knew I wanted something unique, but it was Peter and the Wolf that swayed my final decision.

 

What role does music play in your life?

Meyer: Music is my life. Ever since I started taking piano lessons in third grade I have been obsessed. Once I started playing oboe, I knew that music was what I wanted to do with my life. All through middle school, I would randomly learn to play new instruments, just for fun. In high school, I started doing every festival I could and I joined multiple ensemble. Performing, playing, and listing to music is my favorite thing to do.

 

What do you enjoy most about playing in an orchestra?

Bialas: I enjoy playing in an orchestra because for three hours every Sunday everyone is only focused on one thing, music. Everyone wants to be there and brings so much talent that all comes together in the music we play. Playing in an orchestra, you meet many so many amazing people and grow close to them, especially those in your section.

Dauerman: Friends! The relationships I’ve formed through playing in an orchestra have had such a positive impact on my life. The sound is also incredible- there’s nothing quite like sitting in the middle of an orchestra. It’s so easy to lose yourself in the music.

 

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

Bialas: One piece of advice I would give to younger musicians is to always enjoy what you’re doing. Finding ways of practicing that work for you and make it fun is always important. Music is a way of expressing yourself so make sure you are enjoying it!

Meyer: The advice I would give is to take every opportunity that is given to you. Every ensemble and performance can teach you something and the more you do, the more you will learn and grow as a musician.

 

What is your favorite VYOA memory?

Bialas: My favorite VYOA memory was the trip to Spain and Portugal. It was such a rewarding experience to be able to travel to such amazing places with a group of all such wonderful people. I got to make new friends and talk to people I hadn’t known previously, and the whole group was like a big family by the end. One memory from the trip that I will never forget is the joint concert with the Portuguese Youth Orchestra. Getting to know all about them and learning that they aren’t so different from us is definitely something I’ll never forget.

Dauerman: During the Spain and Portugal trip, we had a couple of hours to explore the walled city of Avila. Kay and I luckily ran into the chaperones and they took us up on top of the wall. The view was absolutely incredible!

Meyer: My favorite VYOA memory is definitely the Spain and Portugal Tour. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to travel the world with an amazing group of people and perform. I loved being able to explore the cities and experience the rich cultures they all hold.

 

What other activities do you participate in?

Bialas: Some things I enjoy doing outside of orchestra include Irish dance, art, and playing other musical instruments. I love to paint and draw as well as play the guitar when I have the time. I’m also a championship Irish dancer and practice multiple times a week.

Dauerman: I play tennis and teach Hebrew school at my temple. I also love to bake and cross country ski for fun.

Meyer: Other than VYO, I play with Green Mountain Youth Symphony, University of Vermont Symphony and University of Vermont Wind Ensemble. At school, I sing in chorus and play in both band and jazz band. I am very thankful for having the opportunity to play in so many ensembles.

 

What college/university do you hope to attend & what do you plan to study in college?

Dauerman: I will be attending Yale next year. I’m currently planning on studying environmental science. I’ve always loved science and I’m very involved with climate activism so it’s a nice combination of the two. Plus, there’s so much to be done!

Meyer: I plan on studying performance next year at college. Music is what I love most in life and I can’t see myself doing anything other than music in the future. I’ve applied to conservatories for next year and I am excited to continue my studies in music and performance.

 

Congratulations Sarah, Sophie & Kathryn! We enjoyed having your artistry, dedication and friendship at the center of our orchestras for the past several years!

Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight!

Riley Fitzgerald
Essex High

VT Youth Orchestra – 4 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 1 year
VT Youth Sinfonia – 2 years
VT Youth Strings – 1 year
Presto – 2 sessions

 

 

How did you choose your instrument over all of the others? 

My aunt played violin and growing up I watched her play and begged my parents to let me play it as well.

 

What role does music play in your life?

On top of playing music every week with the VYO I grew up listening to all types of music being exposed to different genres by my parents. It has now been a source of relaxation and stress relief. Music is constantly playing in my house or as I do homework or have any free time.

 

What do you enjoy most about playing in an orchestra?

I love the camaraderie that is built playing in an orchestra and how we all come together to make one song.

 

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

I would tell younger musicians to stick with it even if it becomes difficult.

 

What kinds of changes would you like to see in the orchestral world?

I think that on top of classical pieces it would be interesting for orchestra to perform arrangements of more modern pieces.

 

What is your favorite VYOA memory?

My favorite VYOA memory is the Reveille camp games and bonding with people from different sections outside of the violins.

 

Apart from orchestral music, what other kinds of music do you listen to? Do other genres influence what you hear in orchestral music?

I like to listen to pop, alternative, and rap music. This influences what I hear in orchestra because I think it makes me more aware of the pulse and beat played throughout the orchestra.

 

What other activities do you participate in? 

I play soccer and do Nordic skiing

 

What do you plan to study in college and how did you make your choice?

I am considering aerospace engineering I have always loved design and physics so I found that aerospace was a good mix between physics as well as design elements.

 

Congratulations Riley! It has been fun watching you & your fellow Essex string players grow up over the last 9 years!

Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight!

Ethan Hall, trombone
Mount Mansfield Union

VT Youth Orchestra – 2 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 1 year

 

 

How did you choose your instrument over all of the others?

In 5th grade I couldn’t decide between trumpet and trombone, and my band teacher wanted more trombones: she said I have “long arms and big lips” and I was suited to trombone. I still want to learn trumpet and saxophone at some point down the road.

 

What role does music play in your life?

Around 8th grade, I started to focus on music more as a central part of my life instead of just another thing I did sometimes. Singing in the chorus at NEMFA last year changed my life, and the friendships I have formed in VYO and at all of the festivals are some of the closest friends I have. There is something about making music with others that is much more special than anything else I do in school.

 

What was your biggest musical challenge & how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge is an ongoing one, which is finding time to practice. Between working after school, trombone lessons, evening chorus rehearsals, theater, and oh yeah, homework, finding the time to pull out my instrument every day is really difficult. Some nights I get home late and I have to force myself to play even for just 20 minutes. As someone who loves to do as many different activities as possible, practicing consistently is really difficult.

 

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

Keep pushing yourself. When you have a lull in between concerts or auditions, it’s really easy to blow off practice. Keep practicing and improving, because it will pay off. Additionally, learn a second instrument! Learn to sing! Teaching myself piano and singing in school choirs have taught me so much more about music, and helped me make connections between different techniques and styles. The more time you spend with music, the better your musicianship will be.

 

What is your favorite VYOA memory?

My first year in the VYOA I was as a member of VYP my sophomore year. I knew maybe three people when I walked into my first rehearsal, and I had no idea what to expect. The friends I made during breaks in my first two days are some of the nicest people I know. On the Spain and Portugal trip, I got to spend a lot of time with some members of the VYOA who I hadn’t met before. Playing cards in a shady park our first day in Madrid with Anna, David, and Grant is definitely another favorite memory.

 

Apart from orchestral music, what other kinds of music do you listen to? Do other genres influence what you hear in orchestral music?

I love listening to music where the lyrics and harmonic composition equally influence the meaning of the song. I enjoy everything from Billy Joel and Elton John to Queen, Pentatonix, Ben Rector, and Watsky.

 

What other activities do you participate in?

I do band and chorus at school, I run the sound system for theater productions, and I work a few days a week at the afterschool program at a nearby elementary school.

 

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

My top choice school is Temple University, where I would major in Music Education and possibly do a second major in Composition.

 

If you know, what do you plan to study in college and how did you make your choice?

I’ve known since I started high school that I want to be a music teacher, and more recently (in the past year or so) I’ve discovered a love for writing music also.

 

Congratulations Ethan! We will miss your steadfast presence & positive attitude but look forward to seeing what your future contributions to the world of music education will bring!

Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight!

 

Abigail Grimm, cello
Burlington High

VT Youth Orchestra – 2 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years
VT Youth Strings – 1 year

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ines Horozovic, cello
Essex High

VT Youth Orchestra – 3 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did you choose your instrument over all of the others?

Grimm: I had played violin when I was younger and didn’t like it. When I was given the option of string lessons through my school, viola seemed too similar. Cello was unique and I liked how it was quite literally as tall as I was.

Horozovic: Everybody else chose the violin, and honestly, I wanted to sit!

 

What do you enjoy most about playing in an orchestra?

Horozovic: Getting to know the other cellists in my section is the best!

 

What role does music play in your life?

Grimm: I have met my greatest friends through music and it has been a platform for me to expand my skills, both musically and otherwise. Music has been a defining feature for more than half my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

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

Grimm: Do what you love and what brings you joy. The hard work you put in doesn’t stop, but it continues to pay off.

Horozovic: Don’t always be so serious! Sightread with friends for the fun of it, learn to laugh at yourself, and breathe.

 

What kinds of changes would you like to see in the orchestral world?

Horozovic: Cello double concertos and more female composers!

Grimm: I would like to see an orchestral world where success is redefined and musicians are valued for what they uniquely bring to the music. Too often we are limited by predetermined standards and expectations, when in reality every person has worked incredibly hard to get where they are and has something to share.

 

What is your favorite VYOA memory?

Grimm: While I was touring in Spain & Portugal, we performed in a variety of venues. Some were large concert halls while others were intimate recital spaces. In Alba de Tormes, we performed in a cathedral with vast vaulted ceilings and a few rows of small wooden pews. While we played, the orchestra was on the same level as the audience. There was no stage or blinding lights. The audience was sitting 5 ft away from me and I could see their faces react to the music. Seeing a young boy’s face light up when recognizing the first few notes of a Jurassic Park medley is one of the best feelings I as a musician could have. The orchestra played the best we had and when we closed with Schubert’s 8th Symphony the energy in the room was vibrant and buzzing. That performance was one I will never forget.

Horozovic: Reveille 2018. My friends and I tried to convince Dr. Klemme to dance in the middle of one of our pieces during the concert. He juggled instead, which was no less amusing.

 

Apart from orchestral music, what other kinds of music do you listen to? 

Horozovic: I listen to a lot of rap but nothing comes close to matching my obsession with chamber music. Rachmaninoff’s Trio Elegiaque No. 1 was the first piece I really fell in love with, and many others have followed. Playing chamber music requires a high degree of adaptability and sensitivity, and I’m always left in awe by the sound a small group of musicians is able to achieve.

 

If you know, what do you plan to study in college and how did you make your choice?

Horozovic: Education and social policy. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my passion for student-centered learning and education reform!

 

Congratulations Abby & Ines! We have enjoyed having you as members of our orchestras for the past 5 years & thank you for your musical contributions to the VYOA!

Standing Ovation: Mike Noble

This June marked Mike Noble’s last VYOA Board meeting after nearly a decade of service to the organization, but don’t worry. We will still see Mike backstage at the Flynn on concert days helping Art unload the truck and set the stage. From helping tune VYS celli to leading a national search for our Executive Director, Mike has worn many hats at the VYOA, and we are so grateful for his support, leadership, and service.

Q. When and why did you first get involved with the VYOA?

A. I have been associated in one way or another with the VYOA since 2001 when my daughter started playing with the Vermont Youth Strings. David Gusakov was leading that group and he let me tune the cellos for him at the start of the rehearsals to shorten the preparation time. It was fun!

 

Q. Tell us about when, why and how you became a Board member.

A. I have been a Board member since 2010. John Pacht asked me to join the Board and, after a little hesitation, I did. Little did I know what a rewarding adventure it would be. I am proud to have led the search committee that found and hired Executive Director Rosina Cannizzaro.

 

Q. What’s the future of the VYOA? Where do you see the organization in 5-10 years?

A. I hope to see the VYOA’s access programs, such as Music Inspires, grow and grow. What a valuable addition to our community and the state! I also hope that the recognition and great reputation the VYOA has received at the national level within the Youth Orchestra Division of the League of American Orchestras continues.

 

Q. Why do you think music is an important part of a young person’s growth & development?

A. Music provides goals, teaches discipline, and shows students that hard work can produce a wonderful sense of accomplishment and teamwork. I think that’s pretty valuable.

 

Art DeQuasie Celebrates 20 Years at the VYOA!

 

 

This July, Art will be celebrating 20 years at the VYOA. Who knew that stepping on the Seven Days classified ad for a part-time VYP manager position would lead to an amazing career serving thousands of young musicians throughout the years?!

Art wears many hats as the Director of Operations. In addition to his regular duties as the manager of multiple orchestras he has also stepped in to accompany various ensembles on celeste, piano, and double bass. It wouldn’t be Halloween here without a special VYO jack-o-lantern carved by yours truly. Art is also responsible for a lot of the nitty gritty details to make International and domestic tours possible. He’s worked on VYO tours to China, France/Quebec, Germany/Prague, Iceland, and this year will go to Spain/Portugal. Locally, he’s facilitated VYP exchange programs with Empire State Youth Orchestra as well as in Sherbrooke, Quebec and Springfield, MA. He also makes it possible for VYOA students to participate in the New England Music Festival by going as a chaperone for those sponsored by the VYOA. He’s the mastermind behind audition and sectional scheduling.

In his time here, Art has worked with four Music Directors and two interim VYO conductors as well as a number of other amazing artistic staff. I think all would tell you that he is a joy to work with – a monument to his professionalism and amiable personality. While he always gets the job done, Art is no stranger to some good old-fashioned fun. There’s never a doubt that he can be found driving go-karts, playing laser tag and kickball, and getting wrapped in toilet paper as part of season kick-off activities for our musicians. 

Art is definitely the calm collected person you can turn to if you need your car jump started in the winter or have an instrument emergency on concert day. No matter what the circumstance, he always manages to stay calm and find a solution. Before moving into Elley-Long, Art could be seen bouncing back & forth between different ensembles’ rehearsals and Burlington and South Burlington High Schools – something anyone else would have been completely frantic doing.

We could go on and on about Art’s amazing accomplishments here at the VYOA because there are so many. We are so fortunate to have someone that is so committed, knowledgeable, and personable. We are compiling a scrapbook for this big milestone in Art’s career and are accepting submissions of photos, memories, and well wishes until June 1, 2019. Please email mia@vyo.org to contribute. 

Thanks, Art! Here’s to another 20 years!

Standing Ovation: Anne S. Brown

Anne Brown has been a friend of the VYOA for nearly five decades and wears many hats. You may recognize her as a longtime local cello teacher and VYOA cello section coach, but she is also an alumni parent and donor. Alongside her most recent gift she told the story that inspired it:

Anne’s cello student was on the verge of quitting cello. He didn’t participate in any groups and didn’t seem interested in joining any until Vermont Youth Strings (VYS) played at the Shelburne Community School this past April. This student saw one of his close friends in the cello section and he now wants to audition for VYS. In Anne’s words, “What a turnaround!! The impact of your (VYOA) playing in the schools really came home to me!”

We were so glad to hear this success story that we decided to catch up with Anne and give her a virtual standing ovation this month. Thanks for all that you do for the VYOA – from inspiring young cellists to being a longtime donor and everything in between – we are so grateful!

 

Q. When and why did you first become involved with the VYOA?

A. My involvement with the VYOA started in the early 1970s, when I took my three-year-old daughter, Heather, to the concerts at St. Paul’s Cathedral when the orchestra was led by Peter Brown. A few years later, she joined the String Training Orchestra as a violist, and went on to play in the VYO  (during the years when Soovin Kim and Alex Ezerman were in it) until she graduated from high school in 1989. She has wonderful memories of her experiences in the VYO. Since starting to teach cello in 1995, I have always encouraged my students to play in the various orchestras. More recently, my involvement also includes coaching cello sectionals of the VYS, VYP, and the VYO. I love having these connections with young families and with the VYOA!

 

Q. How has the organization changed over the years?

A. The VYO was the brainchild of the Burlington Friends of Music for Youth. Two of the prime movers that I recall from that era were Janet Rood and Lynn Alexander. When my daughter joined the STO, they rehearsed in South Hall, on the UVM Redstone Campus. When she was in the VYO, that orchestra rehearsed at Burlington High School, as the VYOA still had no permanent home.

Somewhere along the line, the name changed from Burlington Friends of Music for Youth to the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association, and they added PRESTO (Pre-String Training Orchestra), changed STO to Vermont Youth Strings, and added Sinfonia and Philharmonia. Of course the biggest boost was acquiring a permanent home, the Elley-Long Music Center, thanks to a huge donation by Carolyn Long!

Now there are Rug Concerts, private lessons, and various ensembles, including brass and woodwinds. School tours are also a big part of the outreach program. It’s heartwarming to see the growth of this wonderful organization!

 

Q. What inspires you to support the VYOA?

A. Growing up with classical musician parents, I started cello so I could be part of our family quartet. Soon I joined the orchestra (and band on trombone) in elementary school and then high school. Also while in high school, I was fortunate enough to play in the orchestra at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, where I had fantastic musical opportunities such as playing in the Bach Mass in B minor under Robert Shaw and the Fauré Requiem under Nadia Boulanger—both life-changing and life-enhancing experiences!

With school systems cutting back on or, worse yet, cutting out their music programs, the role of the VYOA in students’ lives takes on added importance so that they may have the invaluable experience of making great music with their friends and colleagues.

As a cello teacher, I’ve had many of my students go through the programs at VYOA and watched their growth as musicians. I’m always so pleased for them that they are participating in creating the sounds and feelings of great music, music that will sustain and thrill them for their entire lives, while also making friends and having fun! My favorite form of recreation is playing string quartets with friends.

 

Q. Why do you think music is an important aspect of a young person’s growth & development?

A. Today you’ll see many articles on the multiple benefits of playing music—training your brain, doing better in math, strengthening reading skills, processing multiple things at once, making lasting friendships, etc. This is all documented through many studies. But I think learning music teaches us how learning in small steps leads to growth; how playing with other musicians is fun and creates bonds; and how music enhances our experiences and moods in life. Want to feel happy? Put on some rollicking tunes. Feeling sad and want some soothing? Put on some lush symphony and let the sounds wash over and through you. For me, music is the background and foreground of my life. And I would like young people to have that in their lives. Thank you, VYOA!

Summer Symphony Camp 2019

 

Students who are currently in grades 4 through 8 can include orchestra in their summer plans by enrolling in the VYOA’s Summer Symphony Camp, which will take place at Elley-Long Music Center from June 24th through 28th.

All Summer Symphony musicians perform in the camp’s symphony orchestra, led by Kathleen Kono, and jazz orchestra, led by Adam Sawyer, making it a unique opportunity to perform a wide range of musical styles in an orchestral setting.

Campers can choose two electives from these six options:

  1. Hand Drumming with Tyson Vaylou
  2. Drama/Theater with Billy Ray Poli
  3. Ukulele with Becky Nowak
  4. Outdoor Recreation with Kyle Kramer
  5. Chorus with Adam Hall
  6. Jazz Improvisation with Adam Sawyer

There’s limited space for each instrument section, and flute is currently wait list only. Financial aid is available.

SIGN UP!