On Stoltzman, Composers and a Passion for Music

October 30, 2012

Richard Stoltzman playing his clarinetYOSA’s Gold Series Concert, “Stoltzman’s America,” is a unique chance to sample the breadth and depth of American music, including sounds of jazz, Broadway, and classical music. No one is more qualified to preview the first concert of the season than Music Director Troy Peters. Here are his thoughts on the November 5 concert at the Majestic Theatre.

“The first half of the program focuses on two of our most beloved composers: Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin, including music from the classic musicals Porgy and Bess, Candide, and West Side Story,” says Peters.  “The second half features two Pulitzer Prize winning composers, Jennifer Higdon and Howard Hanson. Higdon and Hanson are both romantic, expressive composers, whose music is full of beautiful melodies and inspiring crescendos.”

“The real magic, though, comes from seeing San Antonio’s best young musicians bring this music to life,” says Peters. “There’s nothing like the energy that rolls off the stage when young musicians are sharing their newly discovered passion for a great piece of music.”

Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman is such a dynamic performer that the Boston Globe hailed him as “the most exciting clarinetist in the world” and the San Francisco Chronicle called him “a national treasure.”

“Stoltzman moves seamlessly between classical and jazz styles, and our audience will hear him improvising and embellishing on familiar tunes by Bernstein and Gershwin,” says Peters. “He is one of the most charismatic and engaging performers I have ever seen play live, so I know our audience is in for a treat.”

Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral has a personal connection for Peters.

“Jennifer Higdon is not only one of the most widely hailed composers of her generation, but also an old friend of mine. Jennifer and I went to college together at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music in the late 1980s, and later we were co-directors of a concert series called Perpetuum Mobile,” says Peters.

“After catching up with Jennifer over coffee in Philadelphia last week, I was able to bring back new insights into her beautiful orchestral work, blue cathedral,” according to Peters. “This piece is a sensation, by the way, having performed by more than 400 orchestras over the last dozen years. Jennifer memorialized her younger brother in this beautiful music, a radiant vision of heaven.”

No music lover will want to miss this exciting performance.

Tickets to the November 5 concert at the Majestic Theatre are on sale now at Ticketmaster.

Tune in to Classical Spotlight on Texas Public Radio’s KPAC on Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. to hear John Clare interview Richard Stoltzman.  http://www.tpr.org/programs/classicalspotlight.html.


Wales, Rugby, and Roman Baths!

June 24, 2012

Musicians at Stonehenge spelling out “YOSA!”


From Darian Thomas:

            I’m really glad I’m a part of this orchestra. Both of the performances we’ve put on have been some of the most impressive performances that I’ve been a part of up to date. The concert we performed at Covenant Presbyterian back in San Antonio was more of what I was used to, and it was still a good performance. But the second we played the Walton in Liverpool… I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. By the end of the concert I was having the time of my life playing as well as I could to make sure that we could leave a powerful taste of America here in England.

            I have noticed a pattern, though: we tend to have an exciting and mobile day full of sightseeing and interesting meandering before our rehearsal (which is before our concert). The rehearsal then ends up being this very tired process in which everyone feels like they’re only focusing on notes. We sound good at rehearsal, but it’s not exciting. Then we go eat dinner and rest. When we get to the stage afterwards and start the first piece: vibrancy, warmth, humanity, excitement, joy; pure, unadulterated, visceral emotions. There are moments where I have to look up at the orchestra to make sure I’m still in the same group. YOSA has come so far from when I started the Philharmonic four years ago!

            So all of that’s great. In addition to this: I’m pretty sure I need to live in England or Wales. Cardiff is one of the best cities I’ve ever been to, because the people and buildings are all so amazing. And I got to share a wonderful lunch with Joe, Vivien, Ben, Alexis, and Sinead at a really cool pub called The Cottage! Also wandering around the mall in the evening with Vivien, Chris, and Samantha was a fun adventure that led to getting Ice Cream from Cadwallader’s and pastries from a nearby café. Cardiff easily turned into one of my favorite cities!

            After that was a tour around Bath, which turned out to be just as beautiful as the other cities we’ve visited. The way the wind winds through the streets, and the sound of the Church bells traveling in a sunny but cool air (that I can only properly describe as the feeling of a sunny day near Thanksgiving) was so serene… I wish I had brought manuscript paper along with me so that I could at least attempt to sketch how these cities feel, because no photograph will be able to accurately portray it. Even still, I’m getting closer and closer to having a thousand photos, and I’m trying my hardest to capture the essence of this amazing country through film/iPhone! Regardless of whether I succeed or not, I’m definitely going to try to go to school and/or live here at some point in my future. Everyday feels like a weeklong dream, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be here. I’m so glad I got to be in this trip, and I LOVE YOSA for giving me this opportunity!

From Gaby Barera:

England has really been spectacular!  Yesterday, the group was in Cardiff, I was especially excited for this day because we were visiting the famous MILLENIUM STADIUM!  It was amazing.  We toured the locker rooms and listened to a recording of a coach giving his rugby team a speech, and got to take pictures of signed jerseys, my personal favorite being the Barcelona Jersey signed by some of my favorite players, Puyol, Ronaldinho, and Xavi!  Then, the tour guide, fooling us with her nonchalant behavior, opened up a door and stunned us by letting us walk down the players tunnel to some REALLY epic music.  I will probably never be closer to a professional pitch than I was yesterday.  As for you Facebook lovers, you can understand that I now have the most amazing cover photo for my profile of the stadium.  We also got to pose with an actual rugby trophy and sit in a private box where the Queen, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Prince Charles have previously sat.

After our rehearsal that afternoon we were released to go have dinner.  I decided to head off with Sophia, Armando, and Alexis to go get some Papa Johns.  The pizza box was conveniently used for an umbrella as England gave us a taste of its much-warned-about rainy weather.  The concert itself went very well, and everyone played with a lot of enthusiasm even though our audience was small (about 15 people).  I feel that even though we didn’t have the large crowd we were hoping for, we did bring some musical joy into the hearts of the audience.

            During the concert, something quite unexpected happened: the bus got broken in to!  At first, two of the students thought that their stuff had gone missing, but they later discovered that it was all actually in their hotel room.  Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the bus driver, who had all of his items stolen.

            After a good night’s sleep, Sophia and I went down to breakfast, where we were greeted by a very nice lady, who we later learned from the hotel concierge that she was actually a “he” and was a cross dresser!  I probably had the most interesting breakfast of my life as the “lady” enthusiastically talked to us about how she had been out clubbing all night and that she didn’t even belong to the hotel.  She then proceeded to try to convince me to get my “money’s worth” out of the hotel and take all the mini muffins (don’t worry, I didn’t).

            Once on the bus, the group proceeded to the beautiful town of Bath.  As you may or may not know, the town’s name originates from the historical remains of the Roman Baths that were created years ago when the Romans discovered hot springs coming from the earth.  The waters are said to have mineral properties that can cure ailments by either drinking or bathing in the water.  We also had the chance to tour the Roman Bath houses and even drink some of the water from the spring.  Sadly, I was unable to drink any of the water since I (due to my terrible sense of direction) could not locate the pump.

            After Bath, we visited the place I was looking forward to the most: Stonehenge!!  The rocks were all that they had lived up to in the countless photos and documentaries I had seen on them.  My own photos don’t even seem real to me as the whole experience was very surreal.  One highlight (besides the AMAZING monoliths) was when Bond, Mikey, and Tommy convinced Mr. Peters to let them try to hoist him up on their shoulders.   Lets just say it didn’t go very well, but you may find some photos or videos of the incident appearing on Facebook sometime soon! We were able to visit the souvenir shop, where I got a necklace with ring of blue stone on it.  What was significant about the rock was that even though the ring was not made of actual Stonehenge rock, it came from the same quarry filled with the rare rock that Stonehenge came from.


            At the moment, we are siting on the bus on our way to London, and I’m thinking that I would like to catch some sleep on the long ride ahead.  England, so far, has lived up to all of my expectations.  Even the street signs are a lot of fun.  I’m serious when I say I saw a yield sign with a bowler hat in it.  I’m glad that I’m not up front giving directions because when I see rectangular signs with just random dashed lines in them, I panic.  Besides the signs, I love learning the new terms they have here.  When I visited Starbucks, the cashiers unsuccessfully tried to explain what “brown sauce” to me was, but when I tried it, all it ended up to be was Bar-B-Q sauce!  From “take-away” (take out) to “trousers” (pants) and “jumpers”(jackets) to “trainers,” (shoes) Englanders may speak our language, but it really is another country!

            Tonight after dinner, I hope to meet up with a couple of friends to watch the England game and just wind down after a long day.  I miss my home in Texas, but when the trip ends, I’m definitely going to miss this wonderful scenery, weather, and incredibly nice people of England and Wales!

A shot from our group dinner:


First concert in England

June 22, 2012

We have three updates today from members of the violin sections, focusing mostly on yesterday evening’s concert at St. George’s Hall in Liverpool (6/21/12). We’ll hear from Ivanna Gomes, Carly Gonzalez-Sanchez, and Cindy Wu.

From Carly:
The YOSA group performed in St. George’s Hall yesterday. I was delighted by the architecture of the building. The statues were elegant, the lights were lovely structures of crystal, and the room in which the orchestra played was warm in color. The performance of the orchestra was exemplified by the room due to the area’s acoustic structure, lending to the impressive sound emitted by our group of performers. The orchestra itself was abuzz with energy during the performance: ‘we are in England, we are going to play in England!’ Afterwards, the crowd was pleased with the orchestra’s musical display. The audience rewarded us with clapping, lasting long enough to grant us time for three bows. It was quite an exhilarating experience and I am fully glad that the opportunity has been given to us to perform in England, not just this gratifying once, but two more times.

From Ivanna:

Hi, my name is Ivanna Gomez and I’m a member of the YOSA Philharmonic. If it weren’t for Rackspace, I wouldn’t be able to attend YOSA, So Thank You Rackspace!

I’ve been playing the violin for about 5 years and I go to Theodore Roosevelt High School. I’ve only been a member of YOSA for 2 years, and I absolutely LOVE it! The highlights of my years since I’ve been in High School all consist of YOSA events. I can’t really describe how much I love being in YOSA.

This is my first international trip, and this was my first time on an airplane; sitting on a plane for about 9 and a half hours was a little uncomfortable but it was totally worth it, because I am totally loving England! So far, we’ve been to Coventry, Warwick, Stratford, Liverpool, and we just finished walking around Chester and we’re heading of to Cardiff.  We have done so many things in just a few days, it’s pretty crazy!  And last night, we had our first concert at St. Georges Hall in Liverpool. For our first concert on tour and being exhausted from running around England, it was a pretty awesome concert. Though there wasn’t a huge crowd, it was a pretty awesome to just be playing in that hall. I’m so fortunate to have this opportunity to come to England, and I can’t wait to see what lies head on this tour. Peace, from England!

From Cindy:

Last night, we had the opportunity to perform at St. George’s Hall in Liverpool. It was one of the most beautiful concert halls I’ve ever played in, with a tall, ornate ceiling and intricately decorated walls. Before we played, we got to listen to the Wirral Orchestra, a local amateur group that played the first half of our concert. By the time it was our turn, it was already around 9:00 PM. Although we were a little tired and our audience was small, it was still one of the best concerts we’ve played this year. There was definitely a lot of energy amidst the sweat and exhaustion, and I’m really glad I was able to experience this. After the concert, many of the Wirral Orchestra musicians even came to congratulate us on a great performance! This first concert was an amazing experience, and definitely part of what will make this trip to England unforgettable.



Stratford-Upon-Avon, beautiful scenery, and a pub lunch

June 21, 2012

Today’s edition: violinists Madeleine Nerio and Darian Thomas tell us about Warwick Castle (pronounced “Warrick”), Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace), and a proper British pub lunch. First we’ll hear from Madeleine Nerio:

Oh ‘ello!  It’s been an amazing tour so far here in England.  Everything has gone very smoothly.  The weather here is beautiful and I think I have overcome the jetlag. Yesterday, we had breakfast and went to Coventry Cathedral.  Then, we went to Warwick castle, and this time had plenty of time to explore.  They had a peacock garden, where the peacocks were calling each other, and it took me a while to actually notice the castle.  The castle really catered to tourists:  they had many shows and simulations.  They had arrows you could shoot, that I believe a few students tried.  They had many food stands but only a few were open.  They had several gift shops and many rooms with wax statues demonstrating castle life.  In the towers, there were beautiful views of the castle grounds and a few neighborhoods.  Then we departed to eat at the Saxon Pub, when I suddenly became very nauseous in the bus.  Consequently, I ate very little.  But what food I did have was very delicious.  Then we left for Stratford and I was still extremely nauseous.  As soon as we got off the bus, and I breathed fresh air, I instantly felt better. 

We went with our tour guides, who were very nice and gave us an amazing tour of Stratford.  There were many other tourists there and quite a few were French. The weather was very nice and the air was very clean and fresh.  Nearly all the buildings were the original wooden homes that were there in Shakespeare’s time.  Then we had free time to explore the city, and all was beautiful.  Everything went smoothly, and when it was time to leave, everyone was on time.  Then, we went back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for dinner.  We split into several groups to different restaurants.  I myself went to Ikea, where they had a cafeteria, and the food was delicious.  Going back to the hotel, we realized that nearly all stores close at 7 or 7:30. 

Just a few things are different here:  most places do not have toilet paper rolls, but individual tissues, and buttons to flush instead of levers.  I have to get used to the “no ice” thing they have here in beverages.  The hotel itself was very clean and the beds were comfortable, but they had very little in the rooms.  No facial tissue, complimentary toiletries, irons, dressers or alarm clocks.  This morning we checked out and now we are on our way to Liverpool. Please excuse my layout and grammar for this blog.  It is my first and I am quite sleepy! 

And now, some words from Darian Thomas:
If only the land was as serene in Texas (or America for that matter) as it is here. In fact, I feel now that I’ve seen these wonderful English countryside scenes I can actually understand the aesthetic used in all Pastorale symphonies. There’s this pervasive sense of peace and tranquility that comes from being around this much greenery – at times it feels as though the government here scouted the land and reserved certain parcels of land for their aesthetic value.

Beyond the scenery, there’s an amazing sense of diversity here. Especially in places like Oxford and Stratford Upon Avon. In fact, there was a German and French tour group right next to us when we were entering Shakespeare’s birthplace! It was fun for those of us who had taken either of the languages to listen in and see how well our classes could serve us. It was also fun sharing dinner with Mr. Peters, Gabby, Sophia, Serena “Shark Doo-Doo-Do” Davis, Jon, Zach, Emily, Ben, Conrad, and Leah, at a wonderful Indian restaurant. I loved being able to share my second Indian experience with such great conversation and amidst such great people!

In addition to the scenery and the landscape and the awesomeness in general, there’s such AMAZING architecture! I don’t really have to dictate how incredible the castles have been, but just the street scenes and the university campuses! So much Germanic, Gothic, Victorian, and overall impressively OLD architecture. Having just recently gotten into architecture in general, I’m having such a great time being perpetually astounded by the architecture. ESPECIALLY (yes, ESPECIALLY, for a mere “especially” wouldn’t fully capture the sincere potency of excitement that I’m trying to portray) the churches and cathedrals! I get extremely excited whenever I see a church spire or cathedral roof in the near distance.

Beautiful scenery, amazing culture, incredible architecture… It has been the best couple of days I’ve had in a while. The only part I’m a bit sad about is that we haven’t played any concerts yet (save for the flash-mob in the Houston Airport), but fortunately that will end today with our performance at St. George’s Hall in Liverpool! I may be a bit overly excited about it, and may be the most excited person (save for Chris G.) in the group at the prospect of playing a concert today. But that’s satisfactory, because I know that we’re all going to give a spectacular concert this evening!

Warwick and Shakespeare

June 20, 2012

Another post from flutist Jessica Hall:

Today was lots of fun in a lot more time. We started our travels today in Coventry at the Coventry Cathedral. The original cathedral was bombed during WWII, and all that is left of the old structure is a few spires and the outer wall; it is still incredibly beautiful! The new structure was built after the war and stands right beside the older predecessor.

Our next stop was Warwick Castle, which is owned by Madame Tussaud’s. Compared to Windsor Castle, it is a lot more tourist oriented; dungeon tours, trebuchet launches, and archery sessions are just a few things they had available for visitors to take part in. It was very eye opening to see how much work it took to fire the trebuchet once; let’s just say that it wouldn’t be pleasant to be the operator! There were also many exhibits full of suits of armor, weapons, and other medieval items. I also made friends with some of the wax figures spread throughout the castle.

After Warwick Castle, we stopped at the Saxon Mill Pub. The British cuisine served to us was pretty good; roasted lamb and chicken, oven fired pizzas, and wraps were just part of our lunch. From the pub, we drove to Stratford-Upon-Avon, William Shakespeare’s hometown.        It was neat to see all the old Elizabethan homes amidst the Victorian and modern-day architecture. We stopped by the Trinity Church, where Shakespeare and his family are buried. After that, we saw the theater where the Royal Shakespeare Company performs. Seeing how much of an impact one person can make on a town was very neat. We are now in transit to our hotel in Coventry. Tomorrow we will depart for Liverpool, where we will have our first concert. I can’t believe that our concert is already here! I’m sure we will make San Antonio, Texas, and the U.S. proud.

Flights, lines, and castles

June 19, 2012

Hi! My name is Cindy Wu, and I’ve been in YOSA for a little over three years. I started playing the violin in fifth grade, and five years later it’s still my favorite instrument!

Two summers ago I had the amazing opportunity to go on YOSA’s Great Tour of China. At the beginning of that trip, I was still one of the newer members of the orchestra and didn’t really know anyone. But by the end, I had made tons of memories with a great group of friends.

This summer, I’m once again embarking on a journey to a foreign country with my friends, both old and new. So far, this trip has definitely felt a lot different compared to the previous one. While YOSA itself has become much more familiar to me, England is a country I know very little about, apart from the stereotypical image of tea-drinking snobs with thick British accents.

I’m definitely looking forward to everything this tour will have to offer, from the nine-hour plane ride to the various tourist spots, and of course, our concerts.

In a way, I feel like the excitement hasn’t quite hit yet. As I was packing and getting ready last night, I didn’t really fully comprehend what I was doing. Well…maybe that was because it was 1:00 A.M. But either way, I can’t wait until we start experiencing all of the fun things England has to offer!

From blogger and YOSA Philharmonic flutist Jessica Hall:
What started as a crazy day of layovers, flash mobs, and jetlag has been so worth it! After arriving at the Houston Airport, our group put on a flash mob to the song “Somebody I Used to Know”; the video of the performance will be up on Facebook shortly!

Once we packed our instruments away, we waited (very patiently) for our flight to London Heathrow to depart. We were served dinner on the flight, which I thought was surprisingly good. While in transit between the two nations, many of us got distracted by the free movies provided to us. I tried to resist the temptation to watch a movie, but eventually caved.

After getting a few hours of sleep, we finally touched down in the London Heathrow Airport, and found a long line for passport check awaiting us. At long last, everyone had been checked through security, and we were boarding our double decker bus (they are as cool as they seem) to Windsor Castle and Oxford. It was amazing to see how much history there was nestled amidst all the modern day stores and shops in these areas! My personal favorite spot of the day was St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. There was so much artwork spread throughout the chapel, and it was evidently clear that the English truly revere their ancestors. We all are very excited for the next few days, and can’t wait to share our talents and represent our nation in Liverpool!


We’re here!

June 19, 2012

Good morning everyone,

Ben Cadwallader here with a quick update that we’ve landed safe and sound in London. Some of us were able to catch up on some sleep during the 9-hour flight, which is good because we’ve got an action-packed first day ahead of us!

Right now we’re stuck in the ridiculously long customs line; from Mr. Peters: “Never in all my years of travel have I ever seen anything remotely like this.” Wish us luck as we slowly snake our way around Heathrow toward customs.


Bon Voyage Concert

June 17, 2012

Today we hear from Gabriela Barrera, a member of the percussion section. Gabriela will be starting her third year in YOSA this fall, as a musician with the YOSA Philharmonic. She has been playing percussion since sixth grade, and will be a sophomore at Communication Arts High School, studying both percussion and piano.



My name is Gabriela Barrera. This is my first time traveling with YOSA, and my first time traveling outside of the country! I must say I am both apprehensive and excited. Somehow I keep having these weird premonitions that my passport will spontaneously combust and strand me in England. Somehow though, I believe I wouldn’t mind! England seems like a fun and exciting place right now with the upcoming Olympics and the current Euro Soccer Cup (the best sport in my opinion!).

As you may or may not know, earlier today, the YOSA Philharmonic performed our bon voyage concert at Covenant Presbyterian Church. In my opinion, I think we did pretty well (even with my broken thumb, which I conveniently smashed in a car door a few days ago), but it was a good learning experience for all of what may happen when we are tired. Never the less, I think the audience greatly enjoyed our repertoire of music, my personal favorites being Orpheus in the Underworld and Danzon #2. It is those two songs that always make me want to dance, and I always try to convey that through the music so the audience feels the need to wiggle a finger or two to the wonderful songs. The additional help coming from the orchestra has certainly brightened up my day, as people who normally don’t play percussion get the chance to “wail” on a few percussion instruments in a change of pace from their usual instrument (not saying that percussion is the best instrument, just that it can be very relaxing to take out any emotions you have by whacking a bass drum).

England is getting closer, and as we closed up the concert earlier today, I think it finally hit me. I’m so excited the play in English cathedrals, visit the Royal Albert Hall, marvel at Stonehenge, and my new personal goal, try to get those Royal British Guards to show some emotion! I suppose the only downside comes from the fact that according to Mr. Peters, we won’t have one breakfast taco while we are over there (ha-ha), but I’ll take a scone and some fish and chips there any day! Although I couldn’t bring a pair of Texas boots to London to remind me of home, I think just saying “Y’all” should be enough to bring a little piece of San Antonio halfway around the world. I’ll miss my home, but I look forward to meeting new people, making connections, resisting the urge to speak in a British accent, and just plain having fun with the best, most musical people around, the YOSA Philharmonic!

Two days till liftoff…

June 15, 2012

Today’s bloggers are Darian Thomas and Victoria Acuña. Victoria is a member of the second violin section; she’s been playing for five years, and has been a YOSA musician for three. She is 13 years old, a homeschooled student, and this will be her first time traveling outside the United States. Darian graduated from high school in 2011, and is a member of the first violin section. This is his second international tour with YOSA, traveling on the Great Tour of China in 2010 where he was also one of our featured bloggers (see below).

From Victoria20120615-224409.jpg
Today marks the 2nd day of rehearsal!! Our pieces have been getting better and better, I can only imagine how amazing we’re going to sound in England!

We started off with Offenbach. It’s such a great piece to play, and I enjoy it very much. Everyone played it beautifully! Once we finished polishing it up more, we worked on the 1st movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony. I am so happy that this symphony is in our repertoire. I’ve always loved it as a kid, I was so excited when I got to play this for the audition (I was a YOSA Symphony kid last season), screaming, “I GET TO PLAY THE NEW WORLD SYMPHONY, OH MY GOD YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!” I admit; it’s a little intimidating playing in an orchestra filled with extremely talented musicians!!

The rest of the day we played Marquez, Walton, and finished with the last movement of the New World Symphony. As usual, Mr. Peters shared useful advice for our upcoming trip, so I recommend you listen to his advice!

With England just three days away, everyone is extremely excited. We’ve all been counting down, and we all have been discussing what we’re going to do there. I am grateful that we Symphony kids were given the chance to join; it has been a huge highlight of my year so far. I’ve never traveled outside of the country, so it’s a little scary being that far from home! But it’s going to be a great experience for everyone, I’m sure of it.

Some fun news today is that we’ll be doing a flash mob during the 5-hour overlay in Houston!! I’m excited to try out to sing for Somebody That I Used to Know, by one of many of my favourite singers, Gotye. I hope we’ll have a boy+girl duet, it really wouldn’t be the same with just one singer. And most of all, I hope I get to sing!! I wish everyone who will be trying out luck, I’m sure you guys are also great singers!


From Darian

I’m Darian Thomas, and I’ve been in YOSA for 7 years. I have studied Music Composition (briefly) at Mannes College The New School for Music, and will continue studying Composition at the University of the Incarnate Word on full scholarship this coming Fall. I have toured with YOSA once before, when we went to China two years ago. It was an AMAZING experience, and judging from the rehearsals so far, this tour will be no different! Allow me to explain:

I knew right away that this tour would be awesome when I found myself placed in one of my favorite chairs: 3rd in the first violins! (with my other favorite being concertmaster, of course.) I love this chair, as I get to do a little showboating and have it be visible to the audience, and don’t have the pressure of preparing solos (something I more than gladly do as concertmaster, but still, it’s nice to have a break). The awesomeness of the tour was magnified exponentially when I saw my stand partner: Aimee Toomes from the San Antonio Symphony! A great chair, an incredible stand partner, and tons of friends who love music? NOTHING COULD BE BETTER.

But wait:

The music we’re playing is wonderful: so far the Marquez Danzon and Walton Crown Imperial March are my favorites. The music is coming together really well, and I’m excited to show England what talent can come from SA Texas!

To top everything off: everyone is having sooo much fun. A couple of Peters-isms are starting to be cataloged, and a few great memories have already been made. I’m looking forward to all of the comedic moments that are coming up in the next 12 days!

Needless to say: I’M UBER EXCITED ABOUT THIS TRIP. I don’t think there’s anyone who feels any differently! So far it seems like only one thing will be difficult and somewhat frustrating for us, and that will be: not “running around the plane from Houston to England giggling at each other and showing off our Hello Kitty note books,” but sleeping to avoid jet-lag instead!

First day of rehearsals!

June 14, 2012


Today’s bloggers are Jessica Hall and Molly Baskin, both flutists. Jessica is a recent graduate of Byron P. Steele II High School. She will be attending Texas State University in San Marcos next year, studying musical performance. She has been playing flute for seven years, and 2011/12 was her first year in YOSA. This will be her first time traveling outside the country.

Molly is going to be a senior this coming year at Byron P. Steele High School. She has been in YOSA for 4 years and is happy to be back next year for more fun and excitement!

From Jessica:
Today was our first rehearsal in preparation for our tour concerts. We dusted off some old pieces (Dvorak, Marques, Offenbach) and unwrapped some new ones (Walton, Mascagni). We also welcomed some new faces into our group, since we needed some more musicians in the orchestra. Our new percussionists are doing a great job, especially since they are fill-ins from other sections. My favorite piece that we are playing is the Danzon No. 2 by Marquez. This piece has an awesome groove to it, and it’s full of great solos played by wonderful musicians.

All of us are highly anticipating our tour. I know that I have been repeatedly telling my woodwind friends about how excited I am! Mr. Peters, our conductor, told us that we should look forward to trying new things, and enjoying all that Great Britain and Wales has to offer…even if that means eating hard-boiled eggs for breakfast every morning. Our tour meeting this afternoon should be very informative, especially since we are being informed of roommates and chaperone groups today.

From flutist Molly Baskin:
Everyone is so excited and the questions about what to expect are endless. Hearing about the great stories from past experience tours, make my anticipation even greater! (: This is a once in a life time trip for me, and who gets to say “…Yeah….I played in London when I was 17 with Youth Orchestras of San Antonio…no biggie.”?