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.