Noor Salameh: The Royal Concertgebouw: Finale

Photo: Isabella Nichols

Our time in Europe thus far has been indescribable. We’ve been met with intense curiosity, graciousness, and kindness from everyone we’ve encountered in Belgium and the Netherlands.

This morning we drove from our hotel in Utrecht to Amsterdam and had the honor of attending a closed concert with the esteemed Alma Quartet which left us all stunned. They performed both a Haydn and Korngold string quartet. Afterward, they answered many of the orchestra members’ questions about life in a professional quartet.

Before visiting the world-renowned Rijks Museum, our chaperone group grabbed a quick lunch. There is a surplus of phenomenal fresh bread all over Amsterdam; we’ve all been talking about how we’ll miss the sandwiches when we go back home in just a couple of days.

The Rijks Museum was an extraordinary experience. The massive building is a work of art in itself with tall stained glass windows and corridors. It includes work from famous artists like Vermeer and Rembrandt. After the museum, it was just a stroll across the square to the Royal Concertgebouw where we had an on-stage dress rehearsal.

After the dress rehearsal, we went backstage into the hidden corridors of the historical Concertgebouw to eat dinner. Dinner was a delicious array of Indonesian food. We’ve been learning of the Netherlands’ complex history with Indonesia through our guided tours and through art like the exhibit in Rijks today which displayed several images and vintage newspaper examples of propaganda during the time of turmoil between Indonesia and the Netherlands.

Excitement and concentration echoed through the halls as we awaited curtain call. Repeating a concert for multiple nights is a rare treat for our youth orchestra, and being able to witness the progression of our performances after this past week has been such a joy. I am especially grateful tonight as it is my final MYSO concert after a decade in the program. I am in awe, as we conclude our tour, at each and every one of the members of this youth orchestra who all deserve an overwhelming amount of love.

After our concert we headed up to a reception area and celebrated our finale. There we met several other youth orchestra students that live in the Netherlands and conversed with them and each other on the events of the night.

Laughter, tears, pride, and joy…we played our finale. I wish a flower and a bow for you all.

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