Being a member of PSGYO was a huge part of my high school experience! I moved here from the number one band program in Texas my sophomore year of high school, and was a little shocked by the quality of the band program I arrived at. I am sure that I would have dropped music and focused on sports instead were it not for my involvement in the Youth Orchestra. Through PSGYO though I was able to continue playing beautiful music at a high level. I also had amazing life experiences by travelling to New Zealand as a sophomore, but particularly my senior year when we went to Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland. Getting a standing ovation while playing Dvorak in the Czech Republic and touring Auschwitz with a guide who actually had been imprisoned there were such emotional and educational experiences that will stay with me forever. I am also indebted to the two conductors of the ensemble while I was a member – Tom Zelle and Clotilde Otranto – who definitely helped to instill in me a passion for music! Attached is a photo from 1998 of us hiking in the forests outside Bratislava, Slovakia.