I was a small percussionist-turned-french hornist, self-assured from making regional band for the first time a couple months before.

I came into audition for PYS during the second week of rehearsals because I heard about an open spot. It was terrible. Freaked out by the talent of the Symphony, I messed up everything I worked on. Kei somehow saw a spark of musicality and passion, and now that spark is a dangerous fire that has consumed the rest of my life.

Playing with such talented, kind, and welcoming musicians changed the trajectory of my life. Wednesdays became the highlight of my week because I got to play amazing music with amazing people, making lifelong friends and developing a lifelong commitment to music.

From playing the Strauss Concerto solo at retreat to hiking with my horn to coordinating the Hungarian Horn Dance for Music Memory, every moment of PYS was a memory I won’t soon forget.

Jori Barash