CYSO Alumni - Symphony Orchestra, Violin
Passion. It's a beautiful thing, which enthralls us to exceed our limits; and there is no place better to show our passion than in the CYSO ensembles.
A few Augusts ago, I stepped into room 838 trembling. It was that time of year – seating auditions. To the little sixth-grader with a mushroom haircut, the door to 838 was the end of a cliff. Had I prepared enough? The time had come. I pushed open the door timidly. The warm smile of Maestro Tinkham was only slightly reassuring while I pushed and pulled my bow up and down the strings, nervous for every potential error I could make. Would I survive the great legend of CYSO?
So far, so good. I would soon learn that CYSO is legendary not only for it's musical prowess. There is one aspect of CYSO that raises it above any other ensemble or team I have ever worked in: our great respect and care for each other. For example, I have never seen a conductor raise his baton and signal the downbeat for a Brahms symphony, which instead cues more than a hundred musicians to play "Happy Birthday" for a single student.
A social network of CYSO students is one of the greatest things the orchestra offers. It is rare to be surrounded by people who you love, and who love the same things you do. It is rare to be able to discuss the symphonies of Shostakovich with at-first-glance ordinary high school students. It is rare to be around friends who are inspired and inspire you with a passion, a devotion, and a love for music.
Also, with a staff of Maestro Tinkham, Mr. Gray, and Mr. Simonds working with and beside us, it is no wonder that CYSO is legendary. Our common love for music unites us, and our common goal to succeed drives us.
I have discovered and will continue to be amazed by the passion for music and passion for each other which allow the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras to surpass all limits as a musical ensemble and as a family.
Kevin Hu is a 2011 graduate who went on to attend Harvard University to study Mathematics of Computer Science.