VYO Senior Spotlight

Rachel Schwartz, trumpet
Harwood Union High School
Joined VYOA in 2016
VYO – 1 year
What do you love about playing your instrument?
The trumpet is really a loud and proud instrument. That’s what my personality is like, and I get to express that in a lot of the music we play. But it can also be surprisingly soft and gentle and supporting, and I try really hard to make sure I keep in touch with that side of myself too. The trumpet really represents who I am and I love that.

What has been the most inspiring or memorable piece that you performed with VYO?
Most memorable, the Colgrass Timpani Concerto. The trumpet part was absolutely nuts and we worked really hard on it. In the end, we did great, but it was a lot of effort.

What do you love about being in an orchestra?
I don’t often get an opportunity to play music that involves strings because Harwood doesn’t have any, so I’m getting the chance to play music otherwise unavailable to me. It’s also great as a composer because I’ve learned a lot about what other instruments like oboes and bassoons (which we also don’t have) can do.

What would you like to change about the classical music world?
The idea that it’s boring. When I first took music theory my freshman year, I was one of those people who believed that I didn’t like classical music simply because I’d only been exposed to the really common stuff. Through that class I found one of my favorite pieces (Schubert’s Erlkonig) and began to appreciate it more.

What other sports/groups/activities are you involved in?
I am head carpenter for the Harwood Stage Crew and I’ve helped build sets for four productions. I’m also in our school’s Queer Straight Alliance where we help support each other and affect change in our school.

If you could perform with any musician, living or dead, who would it be & why?
Oh my gosh, that’s so hard. I’m not sure I could really pick just one, but for the sake of this question I’m going to say Freddie Mercury. He was so unabashedly loud and proud, and he never let anyone tell him what to do or who to be. I’ve grown up listening to a lot of classic rock, and Queen was always towards the top of my favorites list.

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I plan on majoring in music, although I’m not sure of the exact path I want to take. I’m leaning towards sound design and music technology/production, but I still don’t know for sure. I’m also considering a minor in theater tech; I love the kind of stuff we do for the Stage Crew and it’s really been an amazing experience.