Lily Pollack, flute
Well, here we are, back on a plane to America! These last few days have been an absolute whirlwind. From performing in Vienna to twirling in the very hills of Salzburg, it’s been a very delightful last few days. Our concert last night was a very successful one, although the streets of Salzburg were overwhelmed with a large thunderstorm. This concert was amazing in that everyone poured their hearts and souls into the music knowing that this would be the final time we’d be performing these pieces with these unique musicians. It was very emotional, especially during the variation “Nimrod” in the Elgar. Afterwards, we all went to a restaurant not too far away to enjoy our final European dinner. Roses were bought in abundance and given to various people, people who were responsible for the success of this trip were acknowledged and Mr. Feddeck said some inspiring words. We really did learn a lot about ourselves and our fellow musicians on this trip, along with really significant historical facts and how to adapt to different concert halls. Friendships were built and crazy memories were made, and everyone fully realized this as the whole orchestra pretty much pulled an all-nighter after the concert. Although most of us are eagerly awaiting the comfort of our own beds tonight, I think it’s safe to say that everyone wishes this could never end.
Lily Pollack, flute
We are currently sitting in the Munich airport waiting for our connecting flight to Frankfurt and then on to Detroit where we’ll bus home to Severance. Yesterday was another great day on tour followed by what I believe was our best concert. In the morning, we took a walking tour of Salzburg for about 2 hours. We saw a lot of places where scenes from “The Sound of Music” were filmed, and we had to fight the urge to break into “Do, a deer” and run around the gardens – though some of us fought it better than others. The tour ended at the birthplace of Mozart and we took a quick tour. Walking through almost seemed unreal because it was so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I was walking where this great composer spent a good part of his life.
For lunch, we went to a market in the square and I got a bunch of fresh fruit that was amazing. We then spent the rest of our time shopping and trying to use up our remaining Euro. (I started to buy this thing that appeared to be a wallet but was informed by the employee that it was, in fact, for tobacco. I looked at it again and just thought what the heck, so I bought it anyway because it ironically worked very well as a wallet.)
We eventually headed back to the hotel for about an hour and a half to get ready for our concert. Then I went to the last COYO rehearsal I’ll ever have and then my last COYO concert. However, this was a fantastic way to end a wonderful three years. We went to dinner afterwards and it was a great atmosphere. We were sad to be leaving, but very hyped up on the great performance we just gave as well as trying to enjoy our last night. We got back to the hotel at about midnight and most of didn’t sleep, seeing as we had to leave at 4:45AM; we packed, showered, and then stayed up chatting with our roommates.
I have had such a great tour and have been so happy and fortunate to have these experiences. COYO is such an amazing group full of so many wonderful people and I’m glad I got to spend time with them and show Europe what we have to offer.
Emily Rees, trombone
From the intricate designs of gold covering the walls to the elaborate chandeliers hanging about the hall, my peers and I in the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra provided concert-goers at the Mozarteum in Salzburg an astonishing and truly tremendous last concert in Europe. Unfortunately, the 2012 tour has come to a close, drawing an end to many hours of arduous rehearsal and demanding travel. Although this may be true, it closes a chapter in many of our lives because we will no longer call ourselves members of the prestigious Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. Those of us who were seniors this year finished high school, committed to a college or conservatory and created a plan to continue our education in a field that suits our particular interests. However, I cannot provide in words the feelings of emotion, growth, ambition, and pure exhilaration that all of the members of COYO and the entire organization feel after this extraordinary year and absolutely phenomenal tour. Through all of our sightseeing, travelling, rehearsing, and performing, I feel that this orchestra has become one in a variety of ways. Most importantly, the sound we have created no longer comes across to listeners as a group of individuals. I think most would agree with me that the music we have been creating is now one group of musicians, creating one sound. Meaning, through one sound, we are united, giving audiences a feeling of immaculate enjoyment while listening to our repertoire. Under such an impeccable director along with remarkable guidance from this marvelous organization, there is no excuse for any other outcome. It saddens me greatly that my last of four seasons as a COYO member has finished, but I will forever feel blessed to call myself a member of this unbelievable orchestra. It has truly been one of the best experiences of my life and I am utterly grateful for the opportunity to spend my last days as a member of COYO performing in cities such as Prague, Vienna and Salzburg. I feel that this tour has been similar to an incredible dream that one does not want to awake from. I think I can speak for many of us when I say that it will take quite some time to ‘get back to reality’ after this breathtaking tour. I cannot thank those involved with this tour enough. I know without such a foundation in our organization, families and teachers, this experience and opportunity would not have been possible. It has been a pleasure to provide a bit of information to readers of my blog regarding this tour. I especially thank you for following along and supporting our endeavors. I hope that all of you will attend next year’s COYO concerts and show support to this incredible orchestra, you will not regret it.
Ryan Kearns, violin
Before bussing out to Salzburg, we stopped at the Musikverein and the Zentralfriedhof. In the Musikverein or “Society of Music Lovers,” we saw many concert and rehearsal halls along with busts of famous composers and conductors who had worked there. We also saw the hall where the Vienna New Year’s Eve concert was held. At the Zentralfriedhof, we saw the graves of such great composers at Brahms, Beethoven, Strauss, and many others. This was a very unique experience and we all enjoyed this excursion. Upon leaving, we loaded the busses for Salzburg with a quick stop in Lin – the hometown of Franz Welser-Most. Linz was a very nice and quaint city. We only had enough time to eat and chat a bit, but still liked being there for the time. Once finally in Salzburg, we unpacked at the hotel and headed out for dinner. This restaurant was in a very beautiful area and I enjoyed the scenic walk we took to get there.
Today was mostly a travel day and relatively uneventful, but it was relaxing and fun, as well. We all had time to rest and are now prepared for our next and final concert of our tour tomorrow in the Mozarteum!
Emily Rees, trombone