The first time I ever held a violin was on June 7, 2010. I had always dreamed of playing the violin, just to listen to its beautiful sound, so I never had an intention of going any further than just playing for myself. But after only 8 months of playing, my violin teacher recommended that I audition for the Phoenix Youth Symphony. When I tried to learn more about it, I discovered that two of my friends were actually members of the Phoenix Youth Symphony, and the two of them were outstanding musicians. Did I really have the potential? Intrigued by my teacher’s recommendation, I auditioned for the Symphonette orchestra after only studying the violin for 10 months. My friend helped me perfect my scales and arpeggios, but it was still the part of the audition I was most worried about since I had only recently learned them. It felt like an eternity waiting for my audition results, that eventually, I just forgot about them. But August 11, 2011, I received a phone call from Stacey Page saying that there was still one violin spot open. Surprised, I immediately responded with a yes and was given the registration forms.

The Symphonette Retreat in September was definitely a unique experience since I had never actually been to campgrounds before. But what really caught me off guard were the chair auditions. What are sectionals? What are the seating arrangements? What do I have to know for chair auditions? I was a complete novice when it came to orchestra terms, but it was my first time around such jargon. And yet, I continue to surprise myself by getting 12th chair out of 19 violins, and due to the seating arrangement, I was able to see Dr. Temme much more clearly! He always seemed to be in a good mood, even if he was in a bad one–one of the things I admire about that man. He was a lot more patient with all of us than he should have been, but he was one of the reasons I loved being in Symphonette.

Since I was 12th chair, I sat right next to the cellos. One of the cellists, a guy who seemed my age yet was twice my height, kept hitting my leg with his bow. I didn’t mind so much because I really admire his cello-playing. He seemed to be a passionate musician. He would close his eyes and feel the music when he played the cello, and his vibrato would always perfectly reflect the mood of the song. Just by watching him play cello, I was inspired to begin cello lessons myself. July 14, 2012, I held my first cello.

During my second and final year in PYS, it became difficult to balance piano, violin, and cello studies on top of scholarship and college applications. But I always found solace when I played the violin, so I began to favor it, practicing my violin more and more. I was able to become stand partners with one of my closest friends, and afterwards, I moved on up to 5th chair. Although I was a 2nd violin, becoming 5th chair is one of my proudest moments. When they announced all the graduating seniors in the final concert, I stood from 5th chair as the only graduating senior in the violin section, and it was glorious.

Because of my PYS experience, I plan on continuing my violin experience when I enroll in Barrett at Arizona State University next year. PYS has even helped me grow more as a person. To be part of an orchestra, each individual must work diligently so that the collective effort of the group is the best it can be. PYS has instilled in me the virtues of work ethic and teamwork, giving new meaning to fun and creativity.