The last day of any trip always ends up being the best of times and the worst of times. The best in that we enjoy ourselves more, cherishing the company of those close to us who we know we will see less of once this trip is over. The worst because of that inevitable fact–that once we step foot off the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin tomorrow, that most of us will never perform together again, some of us never see each other again. The seniors and already graduated students moving on with their lives, leaving MYSO and the memories behind. The current students moving on, paving the way behind those leaving. But that’s the beauty of growth, right? I said it before and I’ll say it one thousand times over, that this orchestra has grown phenomenally over this rehearsal and concert season. Monday was our Concertgebouw performance, a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we used it to its full potential. So it was no surprise that today came with a bit more relaxation and lightheartedness, a reprieve from some of the stress and nerves from the grandiose performance!
We are one of the best youth orchestras not purely based on talent (although, I’m sure that helps). But we are so widely renowned because we enjoy ourselves and have relationships with each other that stretch beyond music. The staff lines on the page are merely music’s instrument in connecting us all on a deeper level, enhancing the relationships already there, and forging many new ones. Even just today, during dinner, we had a blast dancing to the music playing as ambience where our dinner was, attracting attention of the locals who were curious as to what we were so happy about.
And they probably didn’t know what or why we were celebrating.
Maybe they never will.
But we know.
We know what we’re thrilled about. What excites us. What motivates us to keep practicing, keep showing up, keep doing our best.
We know what it feels like when we put ourselves out there in front of hundreds of people, to lay it all out for them to see (and hear).
And we know how proud we feel when the last chord rings and the applause is almost deafening.
As a graduate of MYSO, I think I speak on behalf of graduating MYSO members, past and present, to enjoy the applause. Celebrate the hard work when you can. Enjoy the music, not the notes. Enjoy each others company.
And always watch the conductor!