BENEFITING: EMPIRE STATE YOUTH ORCHESTRA
ORGANIZER: EMPIRE STATE YOUTH ORCHESTRA
EVENT DATE: Feb 07, 2015
An ESYO Musician’s Timeline of Growth
Written by Percussionist Hannah Dick
Eighth grade: I enter my first Empire State Percussion Ensemble in pink pants and hiking boots, a complete four feet ten inches, shy, homeschooled, and followed by mom. I am surrounded by nine experienced juniors and seniors. I don’t know the names of half the instruments. I don’t know how to listen for entrance cues (and with fifty measures of rest, that’s a disaster). Let’s call this my warm-up year.
Ninth grade: I’m finally catching on to percussion ensemble, but orchestra….well, I discover one of the most embarrassing moments for a percussionist: crashing the cymbals in the wrong place. Thankfully, my playing improves by the Asia tour in June!
Tenth grade: I’m co-principle percussionist and co-timpanist. Tuning the timpani is not my strength. I have some moments almost as embarrassing as crashing the cymbals in the wrong spot!
In March we perform Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov. As the principle percussionist, I receive the honor of playing the FAMOUS snare drum part—the part that appears on every major orchestra audition. My hands are sweating and shaking so badly that my ppp roll sounds like a struggling blender.
(I’m waiting for another go at the part.)
Eleventh grade: okay, I finally know what’s going on! I even get to murder Tybalt at Carnegie Hall with the timpani (during Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet)!
Twelfth grade: I perform Ney Rosauro’s first marimba concerto as the soloist with the Youth Percussion Ensemble in November. Success! Killing two birds with one stone, I enter the Youth Orchestra concerto competition in January. Though I’ve already performed it, the concerto feels mediocre and lacking life. A week before the competition my accompanist and I play for Gen Vitale, the Junior Percussion Ensemble director, who has performed the Rosauro concerto three times. She picks the piece apart phrase by phrase for four hours. My brain transforms into chocolate pudding.
By Monday my brain reforms, and the concerto comes alive. For the next week, I enjoy the benefits of being homeschooled and practice, and practice, and practice. I pour energy and passion into the Brazilian melodies, and my mom dances to the fourth movement. By competition day, I’m not thinking about my competitors, and I’m (mostly) not thinking about winning. I’m so thankful for all I’ve learned about playing with an accompanist (I recommend Brandon Zhou!), for Miss Vitale’s help, and for the energy I have to play. I tell my family that winning is only a bonus, and I mean it—though bonuses are always nice!
On Saturday God gives me peace and joy, and I know the outcome is in His hands. I have the edge of performance nervousness that makes me focus, but I’m surprised at my own relaxation. I relax and play because playing is fun and pressure is thrilling. It’s a good thing I’m the performer because my mom is a nervous wreck.
I’m expecting a call or email around five o’clock. A call only if I’ve placed first or second. No word at 5:30. Then my phone begins vibrating in my pocket. My heart wants to skip a beat. “Congratulations Hannah,” the coordinator greets me “You placed first!” My mom shrieks and dances for the next three minutes. It takes a few hours for the news to settle into my brain.
I’ve made it from a confused eight-grader to a nervous tenth-grader and now to a senior calm enough to win a competition (Do you want to know if this calm continues while I perform the concerto with the Youth Orchestra? Be at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on April 25 at 7:30pm!). ESYO has been the main source of my growth. The caliber of the program and dedication of the directors and staff has constantly provided me with exceptional knowledge and experiences. At ESYO I can take on a challenge (as I love to) and receive the resources to succeed. Many times ESYO has been the highlight of my week, and my ESYO experience has empowered and inspired me to become a professional musician. Thanks to my years in ESYO, I hope that in six months I will spend several hours every day in a practice room learning how to hit things perfectly (don’t worry, not all ESYO musicians are that crazy)!
If you are able, please consider contributing to the growth of hundreds of young musicians with a gift to ESYO. I can guarantee from experience that those gifts are life-changing.
EMPIRE STATE YOUTH ORCHESTRA wrote -
A Musical Extravaganza - Empire State Youth Orchestras’ Playathon 2015
Playathon is an annual fund- and friend-raiser for Empire State Youth Orchestras’ (ESYO’s) program of high-quality music education and performance opportunities for young musicians from the greater Capital Region of upstate New York and western New England.
Playathon brings every ESYO group to Crossgates Mall in Albany, NY, to play music throughout the day and entertain shoppers for free. During the event, shoppers and passers-by toss dollar bills from an upper level down on to the orchestra. They can also bid to win the conductor’s baton and actually lead the orchestra! And, at our musical petting zoo, kids from one to . . . well, lots more than one, can try out the saxophone or flute or violin or trombone they have always wanted to play.
To make the event a real success, each ESYO musician is expected to raise at least $50 before Playathon day, scheduled for Feb. 7, 2015, this year. .Net proceeds are used to pay for: professional musicians who direct and coach our nine groups; the wonderful concert halls in which our musicians perform; renting and purchasing music; and moving the timpani to the concert hall and more . . . everything that goes along with producing about 30 public performances each season. ESYO consist of two full symphonic orchestras, a wind orchestra, string ensemble, two jazz bands, and three percussion ensembles, as well as a free music education program for inner-city middle-school children.
2015 Playathon Schedule
11:15 – 12:15 – Percussion Ensembles
12:25 – 12:50 – City Instruments
1:00 – 1:30 – Wind Orchestra – with Auction to win the baton and lead the ensemble
1:40 – 2:10 – String Ensemble – with Auction to win the baton and lead the ensemble
2:20 – 2:55 – Youth Orchestra – with Auction to win the baton and lead the ensemble
3:00 – 3:30 – Rep Orchestra – with Auction to win the baton and lead the ensemble
3:35 – 4:05 – Youth Orchestra – with Auction to win the baton and lead the ensemble
4:25 – 4:40 – Rep Jazz Ensemble
4:45 – 5:05 – Youth Jazz Ensemble
5:20 – 5:50 – Rep Orchestra – with Auction to win the baton and lead the ensemble
5:55 – 6:30 – Youth Orchestra - with Auction to win the baton and lead the ensemble
About Empire State Youth Orchestras: Winner of three prestigious national awards from ASCAP, ESYO is an umbrella organization comprised of two full symphonic orchestras, a wind orchestra, a string ensemble, three percussion ensembles, two jazz ensembles, and an inner-city music training program. Started in 1979 with a single orchestra of 81 young musicians, ESYO now counts over 300 students from eastern New York and western New England in its membership. A not-for-profit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors, ESYO provides high-quality music education and performance opportunities to young musicians and helps them develop leadership qualities while also teaching them the importance of making a positive contribution to society. ESYO is well known for its Youth Orchestra’s participation in CBS 6’s Melodies of Christmas (benefit concerts that support the pediatric oncology program at Albany Medical Center). ESYO ensembles give approximately 30 public performances a year, including a free concert for seniors and concerts for young people. In 2013, ESYO was named Tech Valley Nonprofit Business Council’s Nonprofit Organization of the Year (for organizations of fewer than 75 employees) in recognition of ESYO’s positive contributions to the vitality of the region. For more information about ESYO, please call the ESYO office at (518) 382-7581 or visit www.esyo.org.
For more information about ESYO, please call the ESYO office at (518) 382-7581 or visit www.esyo.org.