The Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (PSYO) completed its first performance on November 16, 2014 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa. For the first time, PSYO had a full audience to enjoy the music the students had worked on for three months.
“From participating in PSYO, I realized that the end goal of putting on a great concert is not what retains the most gravity. In fact, the journey to preparing for that concert is what we strive to get the most out of,” stated Matt Kimn, senior at Yorba Linda High School and clarinet principal of the PSYO ensemble, in an interview with JSR.
He continued, “The countless hours of rehearsal are perfect opportunities to work on our musicality and collaboration with other musicians, and the end product of performing in an awesome concert all pays off.”
“Our collective and comprehensive approach to a composer’s work, to me, is most salient to the educational aspect of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, or to any ensemble for that matter,” responded Sabrina Oh, senior at Beckman High School and cellist of PSYO, when asked by JSR about her experience.
Besides learning the importance of music, these students see the benefits of dedicating lots of time to PSYO and realize how they were academically impacted.
“PSYO students are undeniably intelligent, and they, in turn, have motivated me to cultivate academic aspirations of my own. But paradoxically, PSYO rehearsals help me take my mind off of the cutthroat realm of academics, even for the slightest moments,” Oh explained.
Kenneth Han, sophomore at Irvine High School and violist, said, “Thanks to the long rehearsals for PSYO, I think that my mental strength has increased, which allows me to focus on any activity whether it is academic or not.”
Seemal Tahir, sophomore at Northwood High School and bass player, mentioned teamwork when interviewed by JSR. “ I don’t think,” Tahir stated, “that any activity has reflected how important teamwork is for a group as has orchestra.”
Kimn also mentioned teamwork as a benefit of PSYO.
“Playing in orchestra involves teamwork,” Kimn said. “Just like how you need two hands to clap, an individual musician is limited to what she can play. Great pieces like that of Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky require the input and hard work of all the strings and wind players, in order to be able to play a piece at an advanced level with musicianship.”
Besides mollifying the academic stress of these students, music plays a large role in the students’ friendships.
“To know that someone my age shares a common interest in something that may not well be as discussed in the public sphere of life is pretty refreshing. For this reason, we share this intangible yet unbreakable bond that allows us to collectively experience, feel, and express the metaphysics of music,” said Oh.