VYO Chorus Senior Spotlight!

Rebecca Gardner, voice
South Burlington High
VT Youth Chorus – 3 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What advice would you give to younger music students as they strive to build their skills?
The first thing I would tell younger music students is don’t be afraid to make a mistake, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. When I was younger I would hold back because these were fears of mine.

 

What has been your most inspiring or memorable musical experience?
My most inspiring/memorable musical experience happened when I was a sophomore. My choir was performing in St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City, and my choir teacher let me do one of my solos. The sound was phenomenal and breathtaking.

 

What is your favorite VYOA memory?
My favorite VYOA memory is probably when we went to Free Cone day during our school tours.

 

Apart from choral music, what other kind of music do you love?
You’d be surprised, but I’m very fond of classic rock, rap, and musical theater.

 

What do you plan to study in college?
I plan to study Classical Voice Performance next year!

 

 

 

VYO Senior Spotlight!

Lucca Abele, violin
North Country Union High
VT Youth Orchestra – 2 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years
VT Youth Sinfonia – 1 year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace Bever, violin
South Burlington High
VT Youth Orchestra – 4 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years
VT Youth Sinfonia – 2 years
VT Youth Strings – 1 year
Presto – 5 sessions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love about being in an orchestra chorus?

Abele: My favorite part about being in orchestra is playing with other people that love playing their instrument as much as I do.

Bever: I love that the VYOA has been in my family for years. My mom and her siblings all grew up in South Burlington and played in very different sections of the orchestra. It just makes the VYO feel that much more like family.

What role has the VYOA played in your musical career?

Bever: The VYOA has given me an opportunity to explore music as a group. I love to explore and learn about the music I play by myself, but when we talk to each other during rehearsal about the history of these large symphonies and the composers who wrote them, I always learn something special about each and every instrument in the orchestra.

What other activities do you participate in?

Abele: Outside of the VYOA, I run cross country, nordic ski, and run track. I also play in my school’s pit band and teach violin lessons.

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

Bever: I listen to so many different types of music! My favorite music to listen to is from the 80’s such as New Order, The Cure, Ministry, and The Smiths. Some of my favorite artists and music groups from this decade, though, are Beach Fossils, Little Dragon, Mac DeMarco, and the Pixies. I also listen to so much classical music I couldn’t list favorites. I love everything.

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

Abele: I plan to attend Oberlin College next year, studying Environmental Studies and Music.

Bever: I am very excited to attend Case Western Reserve University as a Music and Biology double major next year. I will be taking classes at the Cleveland Institute of Music while studying as a Pre-Med student at CWRU. It’s the best of both worlds!

VYO Senior Spotlight!

We have several students throughout our ensembles who travel quite a distance to get to rehearsal each week. Here is one such student from our string section!

 

Max Lozier, double bass
Rutland High
VT Youth Orchestra – 3 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love about being in an orchestra?

The thing I love most about performing in an orchestral group is communicating through my instrument. Regardless of skill or musical capabilities, the possibility of musical expression is endless. I especially love playing in multiple groups with younger and older musicians who all have diverse sounds, with equally diverse representations of what the music means to them.

What has been your biggest musical breakthrough?

My biggest break through in music was trying out for Allstate’s my freshmen year. Up until that point I was known as an athlete rather than a musician and it was almost embarrassing to be a part of my schools orchestra. Freshmen year I was the 5th bassist in districts and I almost wanted to quit. But I realized why do something different or “embarrassing” if I’m going to be bad at it. So, I worked with a bassist named Ben Greene on my audition piece. And come time for the audition I won the principal spot. At this festival I was introduced to members of the VYO staff and auditioned for the next season.

What role has the VYOA played in your musical career?

The VYOA’s role in my musical career has been to teach me the necessary skills I need to be a musician. These skills include being able to meet new people and work in a focused environment for a long period of time.

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

My advice to young music students is to say yes to every single opportunity you get. If you are serious about music, an extremely important part of becoming a professional musician is the people you know. So by branching out and meeting more people you will have a better chance at knowing a powerful person in the musical world. And if you love performing music then you’ll have fun while doing it.

What would you like to change in the orchestral world?

I would like to change the accessibility of classic music to the average person. I know a lot of people who love classical music but can’t afford to travel or pay for a ticket. There should be a stronger effort to make classical music events cheaper or more localized.

What has been your most inspiring or memorable musical experience?

My most inspiring musical experience was playing in the All-Honors National Orchestra Festival at Disney last November. I flew to Florida and played Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, and a student composition. I met truly the most talented high school musicians in the country and they were all so kind and interested in each other’s story. Just sitting on the edge of the stage playing my bass and listening to the pure genius the group produced was sublime. I inspire to make it into an orchestra where I can have this same experience on a regular basis.

What is your favorite VYOA memory?

My favorite memory has been the VYO’s journey of Tchaikovsky 5. I am extremely excited to finish my VYO career with such a powerful piece.

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

I love Nirvana and Metallica, I grew up listening to both bands with my dad. I especially like the grunginess of Nirvana’s sound, they were revolutionary and would still be to this day.

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

I would like to collaborate with the band PHISH. They have such an incredible fan base and great traditions I would love to be a part of.

What other activities do you participate in?

I used to play football and basketball but music has in a good way, completely taken over my life. I play in community orchestras, the green mountain Mahler festival, jazz groups, pit bands for theatre groups, and often try to volunteer for younger Rutland Musicians as much as possible. But when I’m not playing bass I’m usually playing pick-up basketball with friends.

If you already know, what college or university do you plan to attend next year?

I’m not sure yet, I’m still in the auditioning progress. I would like to move to a city however to have more opportunities.

What do you plan to study in college?

I plan to study double bass performance as well as music education.

 

 

 

 

VYO Senior Spotlight!

This week we introduce two musicians that you can’t always see on stage, but you can certainly hear them!

 

Avi Bauer, percussion
Mount Mansfield Union High
VT Youth Orchestra – 1 year
VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nathan Arre, trumpet
Burlington High
VT Youth Orchestra – 2 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love about being in an orchestra?
Arre: I love the experience of such a large group working towards a common goal of perfecting our music, all helping each other along the way.

What has been your biggest musical breakthrough?
Bauer: Getting my first good sounding drum roll.

What advice would you give to younger music students as they strive to build their skills?
Arre: New ideas introduced by your instructor or conductor might seem crazy, but music is crazy, and they’re usually right.

What would you like to change in the orchestral world?
Bauer: I’d like there to be a bigger appreciation for it among young adults. The majority of high schoolers think classical music is stupid and boring but it’s quite the opposite, and I wish more kids my age realized that.

What has been your most inspiring or memorable musical experience?
Arre: Studying Tchaikovsky’s fifth symphony this year has made me pay closer attention to all my music, and performing the piece has been an eye-opening experience.

What is your favorite VYOA memory?
Arre: I made so many amazing new friends throughout the years in the VYOA. I treasure every moment, in or out of rehearsal, that I got to spend with them.
Bauer: Meeting all my friends that I have now. S/O to the Ratchat

Apart from orchestral music, what other kind of music do you love?
Bauer: Everything except country. I’ve been on a Punk/Hardcore/Midwest Emo binge right now and I’m really enjoying it.
Arre: Pretty much anything except country, although right now I’m really into Hippo Campus and Charles Mingus.

If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Arre: The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’ve always thought they could use a trumpet solo or two.
Bauer: There’s this artist named Cuco and I’d love to do some Lofi Hip Hop drum loops for him.

If you already know, what college or university do you plan to attend next year?
Arre: I’ll be playing with the Marine Band for the next four years, and then hopefully enrolling at the Hartt School of Music, studying Music Production.
Bauer: I don’t know exactly but it’s a choice between Montana State or The San Francisco Conservatory Of Music, studying Music Performance.

 

VYO Senior Spotlight!

Meet two members of the VYO flute section! Where we find one of them, we usually find the other.

Fiona Reed, flute (pictured on right with Addy Parsons)
Stowe High
VT Youth Orchestra – 2 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 1 year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addy Parsons, flute (pictured on left with Fiona Reed)
Middlebury Union High
VT Youth Orchestra – 2 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 1 year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What has been your biggest musical breakthrough?

Reed: I have known my flute teacher for 13 years now, and have been taking lessons from her for 7. I’m going to be leaving her studio soon, which will be a pretty emotional moment for both of us. After my last All-State audition this winter, she and I had this moment where we were trying to figure out what to play for my last piece; I’ll always play flute in the future, but since I’m not going into music, these last six months or so will be my “last hurrah.” Together, we settled on Sergei Prokofiev’s flute sonata, which is an incredibly difficult piece that I have listened to and been in awe of for a very long time. I’m determined to learn all thirty minutes of it and even though there is no big audition or award at the end, I have never been more excited to practice!

What role has the VYOA played in your musical career?

Parsons: VYOA exposed me to playing the piccolo and ever since it has been my favorite instrument to play. It has led to opportunities like New Englands, Allstates, and the Allstate Performance Scholarship in which I have all competed on piccolo.

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

Reed: Try to love what you do. It’s okay to have really intense, metronome-heavy practice sessions leading up to an audition where you’re working really hard and trying to get every technical detail down, but some days, you’re just going to sound bad and keep messing up. And that’s okay! Sometimes, I like to pull out old music that I performed a few years ago or some other favorite pieces and go into my bathroom where the acoustics are great and just play. Just because you aren’t practicing that audition piece doesn’t mean that what you are doing isn’t useful. I find it really nice to “return to my roots” when I’m super stressed about something and just remember why I love my instrument. To me, it’s very important for my morale to take a step back and reaffirm how much I enjoy music.

What is your favorite VYOA memory?

Reed: I think that every day in rehearsal I make some amazing VYO memories with my friends, from laughing at the mistakes we make in the flute section to sharing lame classical music memes and pictures of our pets. I have met some great people through this organization who continue to astonish me with their humor and incredible talents. Rehearsing Franz Doppler’s double flute concerto with Addy Parsons has to take the cake, though; the two of us drove all over Vermont for our various rehearsals and had a great time mastering the piece together. Not only was it great music–it was a perfect excuse to hang out and have fun!

Parsons: I was in VYP my first year and didn’t really know anyone in the ensemble, but I was determined to make a friend. So, during a break, I turned to the flute player sitting next to me and asked her for help on this one part in the music. She enthusiastically lent a hand. Later, she said her name was Fiona, and we were joined at the hip for the rest of the day. We have been the best of friends ever since, all thanks to VYOA.

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

Reed: My love of classical music has led me to explore the world of opera. Puccini is my favorite composer–“Turandot” and “Tosca” are his best, in my opinion, but I’m attending “La Boheme” at the Met in about a week. I also listen to a lot of Warren Zevon and Bruce Springsteen. As for modern music, Jon Bellion and Emily Sande are pretty much always on while I’m doing homework.

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

Parsons: Emmanuel Pahud. He is a flute god.

What other activities do you participate in?

Reed: I am an avid downhill skier who sticks mainly to woods trails. I am also a member of my town’s volunteer fire department, where I most enjoy using various power tools to cut apart crashed vehicles and maneuvering our hundred-foot aerial ladder. I have been in several school musicals, run cross-country, taught music at my church, and scooped ice cream at Stowe Ice Cream Company, which is the single greatest forearm workout of all time.

Parsons: I am the deputy tree warden of my town, Weybridge, and I also teach flute and trombone privately, play in my schools jazz band and concert band, volunteer at my local animal shelter, garden, and show and judge dairy cows.

What do you plan to study in college?

Reed: I plan to major in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University and hope to work in the field of cancer research someday!

Parsons: Music Education

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.