Growing up, I never dreamed I’d have the same opportunities as every other boy. I always knew there was something wrong with me. I knew I had a passion, some may call it a disease, a disease that made me love the oboe. For this I was tormented something fierce by all the other kids. I never thought I’d have a chance! Then, a shining light, the Phoenix Youth Symphony!

Suddenly, I knew that I wasn’t alone. I auditioned for this wonderful group in eighth grade… and wasn’t let in because I couldn’t play. But then I auditioned again! And this time, I had it all figured out. My two years in Symphonette were some of the most rewarding times of my life. Under the tutelage of Walter Temme, I understood not only musicianship, but also leadership and compassion.

Upon graduating to Youth Symphony, I learned the true meaning of “pain.” Keitaro would not allow any mistakes and he made that abundantly clear. Hearing the term, “unacceptable” was one of the defining factors of my improvement as a musician. I needed to get better, and get better I did. I consider it an honor to have improved to the point to adequately consider myself a member of Youth Symphony.