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
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.