Thank you!!! [MYS 2019 Italy & Austria Tour]
Dear 2019 MYS Tour Symphony Orchestra,
I wonder if anybody else has been up since 4:00am, still jet-lagged from our trip...
I thought I might as well get on my computer and write to all of you with what's been on my mind since we all got back.
First of all, I want to say THANK YOU.
Thank you to all the families of our musicians, who invested a significant amount of money to make this opportunity possible for each of you. Thank you for trusting MYS to provide an experience for your kids that was worthwhile artistically, culturally and educationally.
Thank you to our fantastic chaperones. We really could not have done this without your invaluable help. Not only did you invest the financial resources required to make the trip, but you also volunteered to help manage the day-in and day-out challenges of moving and caring for a large group of people. From head-counts to health and emotional support and everything in between, we were so incredibly lucky to have you.
Thank you to all of the private instrument teachers and sectional coaches who spent their valuable time preparing our musicians for this challenge. You helped make sure that our students had a head start in tackling a very large amount of music, which resulted in an undeniably successful artistic experience for all.
Thank you to our tour management company, DeTour, who put together and executed a fantastic tour for us. I've traveled a lot over the years, and it's generally only when things don't go well that you notice tour management. David, Susan & Livy were fantastic in every way.
A huge thank you to Diana & Chris. I can't say enough about how hard they both worked for MONTHS to make this tour a reality. From the early stages of planning, to negotiations with partners, to the actual execution of the tour, they were a central part to the success of the tour. Thank you also to Shannon & Sarah at the MYS office, who also provided vital support for the project.
A special shout out to Chris & Susan for making sure that the artistic production part of the tour was also a success (from stage needs to scheduling and everything in between).
Finally, and most importantly, thank you to every single MYS musician on this trip. You guys really outdid yourselves and I could not be more proud. This really was one of the most (if not the most) rewarding tour I've ever been a part of.
My first international tour was in 2000. I was 16 and was the concertmaster of the Costa Rica National Youth Symphony. We went to Spain to take part in an international youth orchestra festival. I treasure many memories from that trip to this day, though a lot of it is now a blur. What I do remember very clearly is the combination of exhaustion and exhilaration after our concerts, and how the experience made me (and the orchestra) grow in many ways. I hope that sounds familiar to many of you now.
Since that first trip in 2000, I've had international tours at least once every single year, for 19 years. Some of these tours have been as long as 9 weeks. Music has blessed my life in many ways: I've played violin/viola or conducted in most countries in the American continent -from Patagonia to Canada- and many in Europe. I've performed with a small chamber ensemble and Paquito d' Rivera in Carnegie Hall. I've played in a live concert recording of Verdi's Requiem with Placido Domingo in Munich. I've played an all-Piazzolla program in The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. I've played chamber concerts with Berlin Philharmonic musicians in a prison in Peru and in a retirement home in Copenhagen. And yet, there is something about the last two weeks that I just spent with all of you, that no other artistic experience will ever top.
I will forever treasure the way this orchestra became a real team, where every single one of you challenged yourselves to play (and be) your best, perfectly exemplified by our last two performances. The way you all allowed your chamber music rehearsals and concerts to be fun and rewarding experiences, despite very challenging performing conditions at times. The way you (we) were able to also have a lot of fun while doing all this.
Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for being respectful and cooperative. Thank you for allowing me to push you in rehearsal. Thank you for pushing yourselves in your individual practice and in rehearsals. Thank you for putting up with my mistakes. Thank you for allowing me to teach you, and more importantly to learn with you. Thank you for the memes (P.A.). And thank you for being awesome.
Those of you moving on to college, please stay in touch. Don't be strangers! Those of you coming back to MYS in the fall, I cannot wait to make more music with you. We have a very fun season planned for all of you.
There are a few more music-making and outreach opportunities before the summer ends. I'll write separately with more details (Rock Opera with PHAME, Petting Zoo with the OSO and more).
I hope you all have a fantastic rest of your summer.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
Raúl Gómez..... aka Dr. Gómez, aka Dr. G, aka Doc G :) <3