Throughout my years in both middle and high school, I have tried to discover my various passions, my favorite subjects, all in search for a dream I wanted to pursue (that will earn me the most money).
During this time of constant change, I have kept one thing exactly the same: music.
I took regular lessons and participated in my local youth symphony, and as my love for the music grew, my participation gradually increased as well: I went from regular youth symphony rehearsals and school orchestra to participating in summer music festivals, chamber ensembles, constant solo auditions, and, eventually, my own concerto with our youth symphony.
By the time senior year rolled around, I was completely changed. Participating in orchestra--and hours upon hours of practicing an instrument--has taught me to become a wholesome human being. I finally knew that I couldn't live without performing music, because a part of my identity can only be expressed on a stage.
When I had my ‘mini-mentorship’ with Seattle Symphony's Artist Services, Media, & Chorale Manager Blaine Inafuku, I was at a very different place in my life than my last ‘mini-mentorship’ with the Starbucks Newsroom. At this point, I have already figured out what I want to pursue (double bass performance) and I was preparing to go to my dream school, Peabody Conservatory. I had a long-term relationship as an audience member with the Seattle Symphony (via TeenTix <3), and above all else, the person I admire the most in the music world was the conductor of Seattle Symphony, Maestro Ludovic Morlot.
For those of you who read my previous blog post, I described the Starbucks Headquarters as 'Coffee Heaven'. Well if I could describe Benaroya Hall in one word, it would be 'Home'. I met so many amazing people who all work to make Seattle Symphony happen. There were people who planned the artistic programs, arranged the stage so that musicians can perform comfortably, folks who marketed certain performances and programs, and those who planned last-minute events.
Blaine, my ‘mini-mentor,’ works with soloists and guest conductors to accommodate their needs so that their stay here in Seattle feels like home. He also works as the Seattle Symphony Chorale manager (where my mom sings as first Soprano). He talked to me about the amazing things they do to make sure every performance runs smoothly and introduced me to the people who help make those things happen, including Maestro Ludo's assistant, Rose.
Later, after the orchestra rehearsal, Rose brought Maestro Ludovic Morlot to see me, and I'm pretty sure I died a million times. I was at the brink of tears. For one, I was more excited to see him than Beyoncé, Ellie Goulding, and Hozier combined. He shook my hand and asked, "April?", with a cute smile on his face. I literally saw my soul depart my body. We conversed about the concerts I have seen him conduct, my love for symphony and for my double bass, and how much I admired his conducting. Blaine then handed me a Seattle Symphony CD for Maestro Ludo to sign, and when he left, I sat there in awe, recollecting myself. I cried on the way home as I told my mom about my experience.
So how did visiting Benaroya impact me, and what did all these people have in common? They all loved music, and most of them had degrees in performance or played an instrument. They worked passionately, and though they had tired eyes, their souls seemed to be uplifted by their burning passion and love for music. The joy they felt from doing what they loved showed in their smiles and shined on their faces.
"The biggest difference is that we aren't in it for the money. We do it because we love music."
-Blaine Inafuku, Seattle Symphony Artist Services, Media & Chorale Manager
The words stuck with me as I rode the elevator down to the main lobby. I realized that there are many things in my life that are worth far more than money. The relationships that I have made through music with teachers, friends, family, and strangers who listened to my music, for one. Listening to Blaine talk about his experiences as a musician trying to work his way into the music world made me realize that I am a human with multiple talents and combinations of experiences, there isn't anyone who has the exact same formula as me, and because of this, I am as valuable as anyone else in this world.
Our society now has faced so much loss, terror, and discrimination. We sometimes cannot see the value in others, let alone ourselves. We try to gain happiness at the expense of other people's sacrifices, and we make choices based on comfort, rather than based on our values. But in times of trouble and pain, the thing that has kept our humanity is art. Art allows us to embrace our emotions of anger, sorrow, and confusion and share these emotions with the world through expression. Art gives us the courage to have a heart that empathizes others because we have a mutual, spiritual understanding of each other as artists and lovers of art. Art isn't about raising test scores or only sharing with the rich and elite. It may not change the outcome of anything, but art can change people.
"The point is, art never stopped a war and never got anyone a job. That was never its function. Art cannot change events. But it can change people. It can affect people so that they are changed… Because people are changed by Art—enriched, ennobled, encouraged—they then act in a way that may affect the course of events…by the way they vote, behave, the way they think."
-Leonard Bernstein, Composer, Conductor, Author, Music Lecturer, Pianist
I dream to be a performer so that I can change people with my art. But if there comes a day where I cannot achieve in life as an artist, I will change my life and let it become my art.
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