3 years ago, I would have never thought I would be able to play at the calibur of the PYS rograms. I had started playing cello as a freshman in high school. Back then, I was just happy to play remotely in tune! I was lucky to have such a generous orchestra director, Volker Moulding, who taught me to play the cello simply because he believed in my dedication to the instrument. He never charged me a cent for lessons and was one of my main supporters through my high school career. I worked harder at the cello than I have ever worked at anything else, and it showed. For once, I felt the progress happening as I played. After my second year I had decided I want nothing more than to persue cello as a career. I kicked into overdrive as I tackled my first concerto, and then began to persue groups outside of my high school orchestra. My dear friend, Peter Pezzino, introduced me to the program that PYS had to offer and the idea of joining had me the first time I watched a rehersal. I auditioned for PYS, knowing I didn’t have nearly the experience most of the students auditioning had, and made it into the Symphonette group. I was thrilled! that summer I attended Curry Summer Music Camp at NAU where I got to know Walter Temme. Little did I know at the time he’d be my conductor for symphonette! He is one of the best mentors I’ve had a chance to work with, keeping the class organized but also fun and light hearted. It really made me feel like I was part of something wonderful, it never felt like a chore to go to rehersal. I never felt like a stranger though I was brand new to the program. It was amazing for me to see the kind of talent is in the Phoenix area. The younger kids that could play at such a high level are what really got me, I was genuinely impressed! if anything they gave more motivation to become a better musician. I got to know some wonderful people, the cello section really became a sort of family, though we only saw eachother once a week we always picked up right where we left off. They were always such a huge support in my endeavors to persue cello, always showing a genuine interest in my success at such an early stage of my cello playing journey. If there was one thing I regret about my time at PYS, it would be that I wish I joined it sooner!